SHM Allies with Leading Health Care Groups to Advance Hospital Patient Nutrition


SHM announced in May the launch of a new interdisciplinary partnership, the Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition, in conjunction with four other organizations. The alliance’s mission is to improve patient outcomes through nutrition intervention in the hospital.

Representing more than 100,000 dietitians, nurses, hospitalists, and other physicians and clinicians from across the nation, the following organizations have come together with SHM to champion for early nutrition screening, assessment, and intervention in hospitals:

  • Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN);
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND);
  • American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN); and
  • Abbott Nutrition.

Malnutrition increases costs, length of stay, and unfavorable outcomes. Properly addressing hospital malnutrition creates an opportunity to improve quality of care while also reducing healthcare costs. Additional clinical research finds that malnourished patients are two times more likely to develop a pressure ulcer, while patients with malnutrition have three times the rate of infection.

Yet when hospitalized patients are provided intervention via oral nutrition supplements, health economic research finds associated benefits:

Nutrition intervention can reduce hospital length of stay by an average of two days, and nutrition intervention has been shown to reduce patient hospitalization costs by 21.6%, or $4,734 per episode.

Additionally, there was a 6.7% reduction in the probability of 30-day readmission with patients who had at least one known subsequent readmission and were offered oral nutrition supplements during hospitalization.

“There is a growing body of evidence supporting the positive impact nutrition has on improving patient outcomes,” says hospitalist Melissa Parkhurst, MD, FHM, who serves as medical director for the University of Kansas Hospital’s hospitalist section and its nutrition support service. “We are seeing that early intervention can make a significant difference. As physicians, we need to work with the entire clinician team to ensure that nutrition is an integral part of our patients’ treatment plans.”

The alliance launched a website at www.malnutrition.org to provide hospital-based clinicians with the following resources:

  • Research and fact sheets about malnutrition and the positive impact nutrition intervention has on patient care and outcomes;
  • The Alliance Nutrition Toolkit, which facilitates clinician collaboration and nutrition integration; and
  • Information about educational events, such as quick learning modules, continuing medical education (CME) programs.

The Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition is made possible with support from Abbott’s nutrition business.

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