© 2018, © 2018 American College of Nutrition. Objective: Evidence about the role of nutritional status (NS) on functional outcomes (FO) after rehabilitation in older adults is scarce. Our aim was to analyze the association between NS and FO in older adults admitted to geriatric rehabilitation units. Methods: The Sarcopenia And Function in Aging Rehabilitation (SAFARI) multicenter study enrolled patients aged ≥65 years admitted to geriatric rehabilitation units in Italy and Spain. FO were absolute and relative functional gain (AFG-RFG) in Barthel Index (BI) at 1 and 3 months after admission. The association between NS (Mini Nutritional Assessment–Short Form) and FO was explored using linear regression and mixed models, adjusted for potential confounders. Analyses were then stratified for diagnosis at admission. Results: We included 415 patients (mean age 81.4 years [SD: 7.7]; 67% female; 9.4% malnourished [MN], 42.7% at risk of malnutrition [RM], and 48% well nourished [WN]). Admission diagnoses were hip fracture (39.5%), elective orthopedic surgery (EOS) (29.5%), and stroke (31%). In an adjusted linear mixed model, MN and RM participants had lower BI compared to WN (MN: β: −8.47, p = 0.023; RM: β: −5.22, p = 0.031), and differences between groups remained stable over time. After stratification for admission diagnosis, only MN patients admitted after EOS had worse FO, both at 30 days (AFG: β adjusted: −13.54, p < 0.001; RFG: β: −32, p < 0.001) and 3 months (AFG: β adjusted: −17.79, p < 0.001; RFG: β: −26.77, p = 0.002). Conclusions: In our sample, poor NS is associated with worse BI in older adults admitted to geriatric rehabilitation units; in patients undergoing EOS, MN is associated with worse FO. Our results documented for the first time the importance of assessing nutritional status before EOS.
- Barthel Index
- Older adults