Cost-effectiveness of nutrition intervention in long-term care

Sandra F. Simmons, Emmett Keeler, Ruopeng An, Xulei Liu, Matthew S. Shotwell, Brittany Kuertz, Heidi J. Silver, John F. Schnelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To determine the cost-effectiveness of two nutrition interventions on food, beverage, and supplement intake and body weight. Design Randomized, controlled trial. Setting Five skilled nursing home facilities. Participants Long-stay residents with orders for nutrition supplementation (N = 154). Intervention Participants were randomized into a usual care control group, an oral liquid nutrition supplement (ONS) intervention group, or a snack intervention group. Research staff provided ONS, according to orders or a variety of snack foods and beverages twice per day between meals, 5 days per week for 24 weeks and assistance to promote consumption. Measurements Research staff independently weighed residents at baseline and monthly during the 24-week intervention. Resident food, beverage and supplement intake and the amount of staff time spent providing assistance were assessed for 2 days at baseline and 2 days per month during the intervention using standardized observation and weighed intake procedures. Results The ONS intervention group took in an average of 265 calories more per day and the snack intervention group an average of 303 calories more per day than the control group. Staff time required to provide each intervention averaged 11 and 14 minutes per person per offer for ONS and snacks, respectively, and 3 minutes for usual care. Both interventions were cost-effective in increasing caloric intake, but neither intervention had a significant effect on body weight, despite positive trends. Conclusion Oral liquid nutrition supplements and snack offers were efficacious in promoting caloric intake when coupled with assistance to promote consumption and a variety of options, but neither intervention resulted in significant weight gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2308-2316
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • long-term care
  • nutrition intervention
  • oral liquid nutrition supplements
  • unintentional weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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