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Acutely ill elderly people may benefit from nutritional supplements

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7571.0-e (Published 05 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:0-e

Research question Do nutritional supplements help elderly people who are acutely ill in hospital?

Answer Probably. Supplements rich in protein and vitamins improve patients' nutrition and reduce readmission rates over six months.

Why did the authors do the study? There's already evidence that sick elderly people do better when they are well nourished, but most research has focused on chronic care settings. These authors wanted to find out whether elderly people benefit from nutritional supplements given during and after an acute illness.

What did they do? They randomised 445 acutely ill, hospitalised patients aged over 65 years to an oral nutritional supplement drink or to an indistinguishable placebo daily for six weeks. …

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