Americans may not look malnourished, but many are – especially among the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
In fact, one in three people admitted to hospitals in the United States suffers from malnourishment.1 Many more become malnourished over the course of their hospital stay.
In a hospital, malnutrition is serious. A malnourished patient heals more slowly. Thirty-day readmission rates are higher among patients suffering from poor nutrition. Malnutrition can mean longer stays, higher costs and higher mortality rates. Poor nutrition also contributes to higher risk of hospital-acquired infections, falls and other complications.
ABBOTT HELPS FORM NUTRITION ALLIANCE
To improve nutrition care in hospitalized patients, Abbott helped establish the Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition. This group encompasses four organizations – the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Society of Hospital Medicine and Abbott.
“The Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition is a call to action,” said Abby Sauer, MPH, RD, Scientific & Medical Affairs, Abbott. “We’re advocating for more systemized nutrition care practices and more interdisciplinary collaboration.”
NUTRITION CARE MODEL INTRODUCED
The coalition believes that every incoming patient should receive a nutrition screening and assessment, intervention if appropriate and a nutrition education plan upon discharge. The alliance offers a Nutrition Care Model Toolkit, with helpful tools and checklists for hospitals, available at http://malnutrition.com/getinvolved/hospitalnutritiontoolkit.
The alliance is currently creating educational resources and supporting nutrition care process implementation in U.S. hospitals to help pinpoint best practices for this life-saving initiative.
1. The Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition. Coats KG et al. J Am Diet Assoc 1993; 93: 27-33. Giner M et al. Nutrition 1996; 12: 23-29; Thomas DR et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2002; 75: 308-313.
2. Among Medicare patients aged 65 and over with any diagnosis who could be tracked for readmission. Lakdawalla D SJ, Perlroth D, LaVallee C, Linthicum M, Philipson T. “Oral nutrition supplements' impact on hospital outcomes in the context of the Affordable Care Act and new Medicare reimbursement policies.” The 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making, pages 1–29, https://smdm.confex.com/smdm/2013md/webprogram/Paper7814.html. Accessed in 2013.
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