Alarming rates of elderly suffering malnutrition in New Zealand suggests more support is needed for those living at home, a researcher says.
A Massey University study, which ran from July 2014 to September 2015, tested over 200 people, aged 65 years or older, for malnutrition when admitted to hospital.
Associate professor Dr Carol Wham, who led the study, said of the 234 participants, 73.5 per cent were malnourished or at high risk.
"Of all the participants ... 88 per cent were living at home," Wham said.
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She said more needs to be done to support elderly living at home to ensure they are eating properly.
"They are at risk of unintentional weight loss and [being malnourished leads to other illnesses] and eventually mortality," Wham said.
Wham said of the participants "nearly half, 46.6 per cent, were identified at malnutrition risk and just over a quarter, 26.9 per cent, malnourished. This means, almost three-quarters were malnourished or at malnutrition risk".
Wham said if we are to address malnourishment that is occurring before an older adult reaches crisis point and hospitalisation, screening in GP medical centres is needed.