Oct 05, 2017

Does Your Eating Affect Your Hospital Stay?

If you’ve ever been in a hospital, you know that discharge can take longer than the actual procedure you had done! Part of the discharge process includes receiving care instructions to hopefully prevent readmission to the hospital. The readmission rate of long term care patients is higher than any other group. Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of readmission in this group of patients. Studies have shown that better nourished residents have improved prognoses and better outcomes.

Malnutrition prior to hospital treatment means an increased risk of complications and unintended weight loss. The most effective way of reducing readmission rates due to malnutrition is to focus on personalized nutrition support for long-term care residents.

Malnutrition is comprised of two or more of the following:

  1. Unintentional significant weight loss of 5%
  1. Intake of less than 75% of nutrient needs for the last month
  2. Mild muscle loss based on a nutrition focused physical exam
  1. Mild fat loss based on a nutrition focused physical exam

Personalizing the nutrition care is the best way to help prevent malnutrition. Involve the Registered Dietitian, provide adequate calories and protein, including oral nutrition supplements, and monitor the patient’s weight. Most importantly, actively listen to the resident. Active or reflective listening during family care meetings will build mutual trust. Trust leads to respect, and can translate to better nutrition and more knowledge of personal preferences, which can help both the registered dietitian and the long-term care staff members.