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Nutrition and Supplement Care Reduce Hospital Stay and Readmission Rate

Between 30% and 50% of people admitted to American hospitals suffer from malnutrition, a fact that often goes undiagnosed. A recent study suggests that screening patients for malnutrition immediately upon admission to the hospital, followed by an oral nutrition supplement program, may reduce the length of the hospital stay by 25% and reduce the risk of readmission by 20%.

Participants in the study included 1,269 people who were admitted to four different hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area. Those hospitals followed two different nutrition care programs, one basic and one enhanced. Both of the programs screened patients for malnutrition and then put them on nutrition support. The enhanced program also included immediate intervention when patients were admitted and follow-up calls to make sure that patients continued with the program after being released.

Approximately half of the patients were at risk of malnutrition at the time of admission. Length of stay in the hospital was decreased by 18% for the patients who received the basic nutrition care program and by 22% for those who received the enhanced program. 30-day unplanned readmission risk was decreased by 25.8% in the basic group and by 29.4% in the enhanced group.

Researchers from Advocate Health Care and Abbott Nutrition conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 6, 2016, in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Oral nutrition supplements are multi-nutrient liquid, semi-solid or powder products that provide macronutrients and micronutrients aimed at increasing nutritional intake. Studies have shown that when used in the treatment of disease-related malnutrition, oral nutritional supplements may reduce infections, improve well-being and activities of daily living and reduce the number of pressure ulcers and poorly healing wounds.

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