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Open Access Research article

Effectiveness of Oral Nutritional Supplementation for Older Women after a Fracture: Rationale, Design and Study of the Feasibility of a Randomized Controlled Study

Ian D Cameron1*, Susan E Kurrle2, Cesar Uy2, Keri A Lockwood2, Lydia Au3 and Frederieke G Schaafsma1

Author Affiliations

1 Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Australia

2 Division of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Health Service, Sydney, Australia

3 Department of Geriatrics, Alexandra Hospital, Singapore

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BMC Geriatrics 2011, 11:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-32

Published: 10 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Malnutrition is a problem for many older people recovering from a hip and other major fractures. Oral supplementation with high calorie high protein nutrients is a simple intervention that may help older people with fractures to improve their recovery in terms of rehabilitation time, length of hospital stay and mortality. This paper reports a pilot study to test the feasibility of a trial initiated in a hospital setting with an oral supplement to older people with recent fractures.

Method

A randomized controlled trial with 44 undernourished participants admitted to a hospital following a fracture. The intervention group (n = 23) received a high calorie high protein supplement for forty days in addition to their diet of choice. The control group (n = 21) received high protein milk during their hospital stay in addition to their diet of choice and their usual diet when discharged from hospital.

Results

All participants were women and their mean age was 85.3 (± 6.1) years. Twenty nine (65%) participants had a hip fracture. At baseline no differences were measured between the two groups regarding their nutritional status, their cognitive ability or their abilities in activities of daily living. There were no significant differences between the intervention and control group with reference to nutritional or functional parameters at 40 day and 4 month follow-ups. Median length of stay in hospital was 18.0 days, with 12 participants being readmitted for a median of 7.0 days.

Conclusion

It is feasible to perform a randomised trial in a hospital and community setting to test the effect of an oral high energy high protein supplement for older people. Due to the limited number of participants and incomplete adherence with use of the supplements no conclusion can be drawn about the efficacy or effectiveness of this intervention.