Assessing and Managing Unintentional Weight Loss: A Global Survey of Geriatrician Practice and Their Use of Ice Cream to Address It
M. Gyenes, I.-Y. Wang, S.K. Sinha
J Frailty Aging 2021;10(4)350-356
OBJECTIVES: Unintentional weight loss (UIWL) is common among older adults but lacks standardized methods for its diagnosis and management. With a limited understanding on how geriatricians actually address UIWL, we conducted a survey to examine how they diagnose and manage it, and their opinions regarding the use of ice cream to address it.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: An international descriptive, cross-sectional, online survey conducted over a 16-week period in 2019 involving 1131 geriatricians in clinical practice across 51 countries.
MEASUREMENTS: We collected information around respondent demographics, use of screening tools and diagnostic investigations, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to address UIWL.
RESULTS: 89.1% of respondents reported frequently seeing UIWL. The most common methods reportedly used to evaluate UIWL were performing a comprehensive history and physical examination (97.4%) and assessing for cognitive impairment (86.5%). 74.2% noted that they routinely prescribed oral nutritional supplements and 71.6% involved non-medical professional(s) to help manage UIWL. While 50.4% reported recommending ice cream to their patients with UIWL, only 30.6% reported being aware of other colleagues recommending it. Geriatricians in practice for 30+ years were significantly more likely to recommend ice cream (P < 0.05). A thematic analysis of qualitative responses identified that prescribing ice cream tended to align both with patient preferences and socio-economic realities.
CONCLUSION: While a majority of geriatricians surveyed routinely prescribe ONS and involve others to manage UIWL, at least half are also recommending ice cream. A key practice amongst experienced geriatricians, the use of ice cream could be better acknowledged as a practical and cost-effective way to address UIWL.
M. Gyenes ; I.-Y. Wang ; S.K. Sinha (2021): Assessing and Managing Unintentional Weight Loss: A Global Survey of Geriatrician Practice and Their Use of Ice Cream to Address It. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2021.11