Study: More than half of seniors in ERs poorly nourished

A new report released by the University of North Carolina finds that the area’s over-65 population is suffering from food insecurity.

CHAPELBORO, N.C.—UNC researchers have discovered that more than half of UNC’s emergency-room patients that are 65 or older suffer from poor nutrition.

“We know from other work that the emergency department is a unique environment which takes care of patients with a higher prevalence of limited access to routine care, and also financial limitations, said UNC Assistant Professor Tim Platts-Mill of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “So we thought the emergency department would be an important place to look at malnutrition.”

Platts-Mills is the senior author of a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina published online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine this past Tuesday.

It shows that more than half of 138 patients 65 or older who showed up in emergency rooms in UNC Hospitals over an eight-week period were either malnourished, or at risk for malnutrition.