Identifying patients with malnutrition and improving use of nutrition interventions: A quality study in four US hospitals

Link to article at PubMed

Nutrition. 2021 May 30;91-92:111360. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2021.111360. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: This study investigated how specific nutrition interventions were implemented at four US hospitals, compared rates of malnutrition diagnosis and assessment between physicians and registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), and examined how these differences affected the nutrition intervention received during patients' hospital stay.

METHODS: Data on patients' nutrition status and nutrition interventions were collected from 16 669 hospital inpatient records. Data on intervention utilization for patients with differing nutrition assessments and diagnoses from different health care practitioners were compared using descriptive statistics and χ2 tests.

RESULTS: The study found high levels of agreement between physician diagnosis and RDN assessment of malnutrition (88%). Much of this agreement related to patients identified as not malnourished. Of patients identified as malnourished by either physician diagnosis or RDN assessment, agreement was reached in 55.5% of patients. Less than half (46.3%) of patients identified as malnourished had a documented nutrition intervention. Oral nutritional supplements (ONS) were the most commonly used intervention, with 5.1% of patients receiving them. Patients identified as malnourished by physician diagnosis, but not by RDN assessment, were more likely to receive enteral and parenteral nutrition. Patients identified as malnourished by RDN assessment, but not by physician diagnosis, were more likely to have received ONS, meals and snacks, counseling, and food/nutrition-related medication management.

CONCLUSION: The high level of agreement on assessment and malnutrition diagnosis suggests positive levels of malnutrition care coordination at the study hospitals. However, significant room for improvement exists in providing interventions to inpatients diagnosed with malnourishment. Differences in interventions may reflect dissimilar approaches commonly used by different practitioners and should be a topic of future study.

PMID:34274654 | DOI:10.1016/j.nut.2021.111360

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