Get informed on the issue of malnutrition by reading the research and clinical summaries and by finding education opportunities.
It’s vital that clinicians work together to make an impact on patient outcomes by elevating the role of patient nutrition. Research shows malnutrition significantly affects outcomes:
Malnutrition is treatable, but we must act now. With a rapidly growing population of older adults and sharp increases in chronic disease, the value of proper nutrition in the hospital setting has never been higher.
Malnutrition can delay recovery, increase medical complications and extend length of stay – all of which contribute to escalating costs5,6 . By identifying and treating malnourished patients upon admission and through discharge, hospitals can significantly improve quality and patient outcomes while reducing costs and meeting healthcare reform provisions.6 In fact, according to the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will no longer pay for hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure ulcers, falls and hospital-acquired infections.7
Effective nutritional intervention must occur across the entire continuum of care. And clinicians must approach the issue of nutrition in more collaborative ways. Research shows that instituting an effective hospital nutrition program and raising awareness of the issue of patient nutrition leads to better patient outcomes.8,9
Professionals on the front lines are constantly working to find more efficient ways to improve patient care for the millions of Americans who are admitted to hospitals each year. Of these patients, 1 in 3 is malnourished upon hospital admission.10-12 Yet too often, this challenge is hiding in plain sight. Education opportunities and nursing education modules can help clinicians learn that nutrition therapy is a practical solution to improve outcomes.