Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Public Health and Nutrition


This study measured the nutrient intake of 60 chents of the Geriatric Assessment Team (GAT) based at Governor Phillip Special Hospital, Penrith, N.S.W. The relationship between nutrient intake and demographic, social, medical, exercise and food intake variables was examined, and the opinions of five members of the Geriatric Assessment Team on the nutritional problems of their clients were solicited. The study utilised two methods; a researcher administered a questionnaire, including a diet history, to the GAT clients and undertook a focus group involving the GAT personnel. Results indicated that the aged population in the Penrith area may be nutritionally at risk due to an increasing mean age, the number of older people living alone, a low level of education and the percentage of older people who are underweight or overweight. A need for some form of nutritional intervention and social stimulation for older people who were widowed and lived alone was particularly apparent. A small percentage of older people surveyed never had visitors, ate away from home or indeed left their homes. It was found that dietary intake monitoring was required whether individuals lived alone or did not. The majority of GAT clients suffered from diseases with nutritional implications such as arthritis (58 percent), hypertension (26 percent), heart disease (25 percent) and diabetes (13 percent), yet no dietetic service was provided by the GAT. Twenty-two percent of the GAT clients were on special diets, yet did not receive follow up treatment from dietitians.