Printer Friendly

Nutrition: Making up for hospital shortfalls. (NH News Notes).

Some food for thought: A recent study found that more than 91% of patients admitted to a subacute care facility were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. David R. Thomas, MD, the study's lead author, had also examined nutrition in long-term care in a previous study, and says all the findings show that "The problem [undernutrition] is bad when patients are admitted to hospitals, it gets worse in hospitals, and when the patients come out and go into long-term care or subacute care, they are profoundly undernourished by common standards." Thus, Dr. Thomas says, "nursing homes and long-term care facilities are playing catch-up with these people."

Dr. Thomas plans additional research examining undernutrition in healthcare facilities, including the factors in the hospital environment that might contribute to patient malnutrition. He is quick to point out that a lack of food is not necessarily the problem; he says disease can cause patients to lose weight, even if they are receiving enteral feedings: "There is this mythology that anyone who is undernourished is not getting enough food. So consequently there are huge numbers of strategies aimed at trying to increase the amount of food or increase staffing or increase feeders and so forth. Those are all valuable and useful interventions. But if the problem is that the patient's undernutrition is really due to disease, we're not going to make it better [by simply providing more food]," a point that Dr. Thomas says regulators and surveyors often don't understand.

Although there is no "gold standard" for determining undernutrition, Dr. Thomas believes healthcare facilities need to do a better job of identifying patients who are nutritionally at risk-including focusing on more than just weight loss.

The study on malnutrition in subacute care facilities was published in the February issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (; the study examining malnutrition in long-term care was published in the July/August 1991 issue of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition ( index.html).

For more on nutrition in long-term care, see Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management February 2002, p. 36.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Medquest Communications, LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Edwards, Douglas J.
Publication:Nursing Homes
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Previous Article:Bush administration to reject minimum staffing ratios. (NH News Notes).
Next Article:New drug helps prevent blood clots after hip, knee surgery. (NH News Notes).

Related Articles
Birth Weight and Economic Growth: Women's Living Standards in the Industrializing West.
AHCA: Medicaid underfunds SNFs by $4.1 billion.
From the editor.
From the editor.
Prevalence and documentation of malnutrition in hospitals: a case study in a large private hospital setting.
Nutritional support for adults and children: a handbook for hospital practice.
Cuts looming for Food Stamps, health services.
From the editor.
Double-check for disaster.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |