Family support and nutritional status of geriatric patients attending primary care clinics in a Tertiary Health Institution in North Central Nigeria
Background: Family support affects the outcome of many chronic diseases, malnutrition inclusive and it is an important aspect of the
care of the elderly that is often neglected by care-givers. Literatures have shown that elderly patients who have good family support
have lower prevalence rate of malnutrition than those without family support. The aim of the study is to determine the influence of
level of family support on nutritional status of elderly patients attending the primary care clinics at the University of Ilorin Teaching
Hospital with a view to providing evidence that can be used to improve the quality of support and care of the elderly in our clinics.
Methods and materials: The study was a hospital-based descriptive cross-sectional study. Systematic random sampling technique
was used to select 307 elderly patients from the Family Medicine Clinics, University of Ilorin teaching hospital, Ilorin between July
and September, 2017. Data was collected using interviewer administered questionnaire and clinical evaluation. The level of Family
support of the subjects was assessed by Perceived Social Support–Family (PSS-Fa) scale while their nutritional status was assessed
with the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire. The data was collated and analyzed using the SPSS-21 Statistical
Results: Mean age of study subjects was 66 years ±4.9 years. Majority of the respondents (77.7%) had four children or less and most
(75.9%) had two adults or less per household. About a third (37.1%) had no income; virtually all of them (95.6%) were supported by
their children monetarily (87.9%). Majority of the elderly (70.3%) had family support but most of them (76.2%) reported it was
inadequate. There was a statistically significant association between nutritional status and family support among the respondents.
Conclusion: The study has provided evidence that family support has significant positive influence on the nutritional status of our
elderly population. There is need to develop programs that will promote improved involvement of family members in their care in
terms of quality and quantity of support.
Key Words: Nutritional Status, Malnutrition, Family Support, Geriatric, Primary care