Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of mortality in nursing home residents, study finds

Nursing home residents who are vitamin D deficient are at high risk of mortality, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Researchers from the Medical University of Graz, Austria, examined whether vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for mortality in elderly nursing home residents.

A sample of 961 nursing home residents in Austria was examined, with an average age of 83.7 years. The researchers recorded 284 deaths—or 30 percent of the study cohort—after a mean follow-up time of 27 months.

Their findings showed that vitamin D levels were below recommended levels in 92.8 percent of the study participants.

"Vitamin D supplementation in these patients can exert significant benefits on clinically relevant outcomes such as fractures," researchers said. "In light of our findings, and the existing literature on adverse effects of vitamin D deficiency, there exists now an urgent need for effective strategies to improve vitamin D status in older institutionalized patients."

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