Structural and process indicators of nutritional care: A comparison between Austrian hospitals and nursing homes

Silvia Schoenherr*, Ruud J. G. Halfens, Judith M. M. Meijers, Jos M. G. A. Schols, Christa Lohrmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe and compare structural and process indicators of nutritional care in Austrian hospitals and nursing homes. Methods: A multicenter, cross-sectional study was performed using a standardized and tested questionnaire. Data were collected on patient and institutional levels of hospitals and nursing homes. Results: Data from 18 Austrian hospitals (n = 2326 patients) and 18 Austrian nursing homes (n = 1487 residents) were collected. The prevalence of malnutrition was 23.2% in hospitals and 26.2% in nursing homes. All hospitals and 83.3% of the nursing homes employed dietitians. Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition were used infrequently. Nutritional screening at admission was performed in 62.6% of the hospitalized patients and 93.4% of the nursing home residents. Nutritional screening tools were used in 28.9% of the nursing home residents and 14.5% of the hospitalized patients. Oral nutritional support was preferred to enteral and parenteral nutrition in the two settings. Dietitians were consulted in 27.5% of the malnourished hospitalized patients and 74.7% of the malnourished nursing home residents. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that nursing homes fulfilled more structural indicators and performed nutritional screening at admission more often than hospitals. Nevertheless, the prevalence of malnutrition was high in the two settings and a substantial number of malnourished patients/residents received no nutritional intervention at all. These results show the necessity for improvements in the nutritional care in Austria, for instance, through the routine use of nutritional screening tools followed by tailored nutritional interventions in patients/residents in need.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-873
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • Nutritional care
  • Malnutrition
  • Structure
  • Process
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes

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