According to gerontology care workers and researchers from McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, older persons who resided in assisted living facilities and were isolated to their rooms during the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic lost a substantial amount of weight.
Forty percent of the residents had a significant weight reduction of at least five percent of their body weight, and forty-seven percent of those individuals lost ten percent or more of their body weight. The research found that men were 14 times more likely to have severe weight loss as a result of being quarantined.
The results were recently presented at the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association 2022 National Conference.
According to the study’s lead author, Maureen S. Beck, DNP, MSN, an assistant professor in the Joan and Stanford Alexander Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine at McGovern Medical School, “room quarantine can result in loneliness, decreased appetite, less meal encouragement, and less assistance with eating.” It is crucial for older individuals to lose even five percent of their body weight, since this might lead to a loss of independent function.
A chart review was conducted on 80 patients of the UT Physicians House Call Program within the UT Physicians Center for Healthy Aging who were residing in assisted living facilities between January and August of 2020. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Tennessee. The practise of quarantining rooms started in March.
According to Beck, “our research emphasises the need for a uniform approach of monitoring weight during quarantine periods for providers and institutions, particularly in male residents.” When occupants of a facility test positive for an infectious disease, the usage of room quarantine will not stop.
The researchers speculated that variables such as being locked in a room alone, eating off of disposable plates, and not participating in any kind of therapy or group activities might all be contributors.
The results were presented in the form of a poster that was awarded first place at the conference under the title “The Effect of Quarantine on Body Weight in Residents of Assisted Living Facilities During Covid-19.”
In addition to Faith Atai, MD, and Nahid Rianon, MBBS, DrPH, both of whom are associate professors of geriatric and palliative medicine at McGovern Medical School, members of the study team included Shuyan Bi, MSN, AGNP-C, who works at the UT Physicians Center for Healthy Aging.
Beck said that the group would start working on a quality improvement initiative in order to produce improved criteria for the recording of weight as well as warnings for substantial weight fluctuations at assisted living facilities.