Nutritional needs of hospitalized older patients admitted to geriatric rehabilitation wards

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Esmee M. Reijnierse +61 3 9342 4634 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Andrea B. Maier +61 3 9342 2635 Personal web page

Project Details

Sarcopenia (age-related low muscle mass and muscle strength) and malnutrition are treatable conditions and central to the development of physical deconditioning, falls, morbidity, re-admission and mortality. Nutritional intake and physical activity contribute significantly to the development of sarcopenia and are important factors to prevent and treat sarcopenia. A sufficient intake of nutrients, especially protein, has been shown to increase protein synthesis, necessary to regain muscle health. For malnutrition, a sufficient intake of energy and protein intake is required to prevent further unintentional weight loss and weight restoration. Sarcopenia and malnutrition frequently co-exist in patients; however, the concurrence of sarcopenia and malnutrition in a subacute setting of geriatric patients in a rehabilitation program is unknown. Additionally, despite the knowledge that nutrition is the cornerstone of sarcopenia and malnutrition interventions, there is at present a lack of knowledge to determine appropriate energy requirements in the geriatric rehabilitation population. Furthermore, 80% of patients in geriatric rehabilitation programs have insufficient dietary intake to support muscle metabolism that facilitates recovery from a hospital stay. This project will assess the nutritional needs, looking at energy and protein needs versus energy and protein intake, in patients in geriatric rehabilitation programs.

Primary objectives

  1. To assess the concurrence of sarcopenia and malnutrition in geriatric rehabilitation inpatients
  2. To define clinical phenotypes of patients based on sarcopenia and malnutrition in regard to resting metabolic rate, energy balance (energy requirements versus energy intake) and protein status (optimal protein intake versus actual protein intake).

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre


Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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