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Development of a telemedical monitoring concept for the care of malnourished geriatric home-dwelling patients: A pilot study.

Maturitas. 2012 Mar 20. Kraft M, van den Berg N, Kraft K, Schmekel S, Gärtner S, Krüger J, Meyer J, Lerch MM, Hoffmann W. Department of Medicine A, University Medicine Greifswald, Germany.

Elderly patients are at high risk of malnutrition and sarcopenia, promoting further morbidity which in turn decreases quality of life and increases the claiming of medical services and associated costs. Early and sustained administration of oral nutritional supplements has been shown to improve the nutritional status with robust clinical benefit. Many patients however, poorly adhere to prescribed supplements, so consistent monitoring is needed. Clinical monitoring usually ends with the discharge rendering the continuation of nutritional supplement therapy in the patient's home problematic. We developed a telemedicine based health care concept for intensive home monitoring. In a first randomized controlled prospective study we analyzed the feasibility of this innovative approach. The intervention group received oral nutritional supplements and telemedical monitoring with daily assessment of body weight, number of taken oral energy supplements and state of health. The control group received usual care. 13 patients were included in each group, eight patients of the intervention group left the study prematurely, five patients were closely monitored and used the devices for a mean 67±63.5 days. Follow up data of body weight and BMI showed no relevant differences between both groups. The results and experiences gained in this pilot study demonstrate that telemedical systems provide encouraging new options to enable an intensive monitoring of malnourished patients. A continuous intensive therapy monitoring of this patient group however, is a particular challenge. Albeit possibilities, limitations and useful parameters were identified, which will be used to improve the conception in an ongoing prospective randomized trial

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