Nutrition Screening in Geriatric Rehabilitation: Criterion (Concurrent and Predictive) Validity of the Malnutrition Screening Tool and the Mini Nutritional Assessment−Short Form



      Nutrition screening is required for early identification and treatment of patients at risk for malnutrition so that clinical outcomes can be improved and health care costs reduced.


      To determine the criterion (concurrent and predictive) validity of the Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST) and Mini Nutritional Assessment−Short Form (MNA-SF) in older adults admitted to inpatient rehabilitation facilities.


      Observational, prospective cohort.


      Participants were 57 adults aged 65 years and older (mean±standard deviation age=79.1±7.3 years) from two rural rehabilitation units in New South Wales, Australia.

      Main outcome measurements

      MST; MNA-SF; International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Health Related Problems, 10th revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM) classification of malnutrition; rehospitalization; admission to a residential aged care facility (institutionalization); and discharge location.

      Statistical analysis performed

      Measures of diagnostic accuracy with 95% CIs generated from a contingency table, Mann-Whitney U test, and χ2 test.


      When compared with the ICD-10-AM criteria, the MST showed stronger diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity 80.8%, specificity 67.7%) than the MNA-SF (sensitivity 100%, specificity 22.6%). Neither the MST nor the MNA-SF was able to predict rehospitalization, institutionalization, or discharge location.


      The MST showed good concurrent validity and can be considered an appropriate nutrition screening tool in geriatric rehabilitation. The MNA-SF may overestimate the risk of malnutrition in this population. The predictive validity could not be established for either screening tool.


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      S. Marshall is a PhD candidate, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Robina, Queensland, Australia.


      A. Young is an accredited practising dietitian, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia.


      J. Bauer is an associate professor, Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


      E. Isenring is a professor, Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Bond Institute of Health and Sport, Robina, Queensland, Australia.