In the January 2014 issue of Today’s Dietitian, Mandy Corrigan, MPH, RD, LD, CNSC wrote an article focusing on 1. Creating an environment in which nutrition care is priority and 2. Proper recognition and diagnosis of hospital malnutrition.
Most hospitalized patients with declining nutritional status require nutrition intervention. Nutrition intervention is useful because it can improve or maintain nutritional status, delay short- and long-term complications, and reduce morbidity and mortality especially in undernourished patients. In the event a patient needs nutrition support, consistent administration and timing in nutrient delivery is important. Frequent interruptions due for example to bed positioning, procedures or issues with the GIT, can increase the risk of malnutrition. Patient nutrition care is one of the main responsibilities of the dietitian. Unfortunately not all facilities are able to provide adequate staffing to assess changes in health and nutritional status (Corrigan, 2014).
Health care systems across the United States are concerned about hospital malnutrition and the ability to provide patient care through medical nutrition therapy. In 2013, five organizations (Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, ASPEN, the Society of Hospital Medicine, and Abbot Nutrition) developed the Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition to show how nutrition relates to health outcome and to support effective nutrition care practices (Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition, 2014; Corrigan, 2014). The Academy and ASPEN introduced two key criteria for diagnosis of adult malnutrition. These two criteria are etiology and severity. The Academy and ASPEN outline six characteristics to properly diagnosis nutrition. A minimum of two of the six characteristics must be present. The Alliance also included principles to support safe and effective delivery of nutrition care and services.
As a call for positive outcomes, president-elect of ASPEN and a nutrition support dietitian Ainsley Malone notes that nutrition interventions should be a collaborative effort among all members of the health care team (Corrigan, 2014). When meeting a patient for the first time, the nutritional screening and assessment can tell you a lot. You can use nutritional screening to identify the degree of malnutrition. Use an assessment and you can identify specific nutritional problems. For dietitians, addressing nutritional needs serves an important management function. Successfully preventing and treating malnutrition in hospitalized patients is crucial. The different approaches can be found within the article.
Corrigan, M. (2014). Hospital malnutrition - Standardized guidelines take center stage. Today's Dietitian, 16 (1), 40.
Alliance to Advance Patient Malnutrition. (2014). Retrieved from: http://malnutrition.com/