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Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Aug;74(2):201-5.

Screening for hospitalization and nutritional risks among community-dwelling older persons.

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  • 1Vanderbilt Center for Human Nutrition, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37212, USA.



The potential for the use of nutritional screening to identify older persons at risk of hospitalization has not been contrasted with the use of tools developed for predicting hospital admissions.


Our goal was to compare the associations of items from the Level II Nutrition Screen (LII) and the Probability of Repeated Admissions (P(ra)) questionnaire with the outcome of hospitalization.


This was a cohort study of participants in a Medicare managed-risk health plan who completed both the LII and P(ra) (n = 386). All hospitalizations within 1 y of screening were recorded. Hierarchical multivariate logistic regression was used to model associations with hospitalization.


P(ra) items that retained significant associations with hospitalization were self-reported health, hospitalization in the past year, and >6 doctor visits in the past year (positive predictive value: 20%; sensitivity: 53.1; specificity: 69.7). LII items that retained significant associations with hospitalization were eating problems and polypharmacy (positive predictive value: 17.9%; sensitivity: 58.0; specificity: 56.3). Those persons designated by the P(ra) score as being at high risk of hospitalization (P(ra) > or = 0.30, 75th percentile) were also more likely to report weight loss, polypharmacy, consumption of a special diet, and functional limitation on the LII.


Retained items from the P(ra) and the LII were comparable in identifying participants at risk of hospitalization. These observations suggest that nutritional risk factors such as eating problems, weight loss, and consumption of special diets should be considered in the management of older persons at risk of hospitalization, irrespective of the screening approach selected.

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