Use of modified diets in nursing homes

S. J J Lan, C. L. Justice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Randomly chosen medical charts of 212 elderly subjects in 11 nursing homes were reviewed to determine which characteristics of the subjects were most closely associated with their diet prescriptions. The chart reviews indicated that 104 (49.0%) of the 212 subjects had some type of nutrient-modified diet prescription. Eight patients who were tube fed were not included in subsequent analyses. Sodium restriction was the most common modification (60 [29.4%] of the remaining 204 patients) and calorie-controlled diets were also common (52 [25.5%] of the patients). Of the 55 patients with hypertension, 31 (56.4%) had no sodium restriction. Only 10% of all low-sodium diets limited sodium to 2 g per day. Of the 38 patients with diabetes, 7 (18.4%) had no presciption for calorie control, and there was no indication that increased dietary fiber was encouraged for diabetic patients. Only one of the 121 subjects with a diagnosis of coronary heart disease or atherosclerosis had a prescription for a cholesterol-lowering diet. Characteristics of the subjects not specifically related to diet or diagnosis, such as age, sex, duration of stay, and level of care, had no significant relationship to diet prescription. These findings suggest that the practitioners in our sample were not convinced of the efficacy of modified diets to control disease for most nursing home residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine(all)


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