Prevalence of Malnutrition in People with Dementia in Long-Term Care: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Dementia is a common syndrome in older people. Dementia alters eating behaviors, hunger and thirst cues, swallow function, ability to self-feed, and recognition and interest in food. There is significant variation in the reported prevalence of malnutrition among older people who live in long-term care. The aim was to conduct a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of malnutrition in those with dementia living in long-term care using a validated nutrition assessment tool. Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, and Medline were searched. A random effects model was used to determine the prevalence and risk of malnutrition. Data were retrieved from 24 studies. Most of the studies were from Europe or South Asia. The prevalence of malnutrition ranged from 6.8 to 75.6%, and the risk of malnutrition was 36.5–90.4%. The pooled prevalence of malnutrition in those with dementia in long-term care was 26.98% (95% CI 22.0–32.26, p < 0.0001, I2 = 94.12%). The pooled prevalence of the risk of malnutrition in those with dementia was 57.43% (95% CI 49.39–65.28, p < 0.0001, I2 = 97.38%). Malnutrition is widespread in those with dementia living in long-term care. Further research exploring malnutrition in other industrialized countries using validated assessment tools is required.

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