A new study gives hospitals overall good marks for conducting nutrition screenings within 24 hours of a patient's admission, but finds that many need to improve other practices to be more effective.
The study, conducted by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) and published today in A.S.P.E.N's Nutrition in Clinical Practice journal, found that while most respondents said that screening patients for malnutrition was being done in compliance with The Joint Commission mandate of 1995, fewer than half were familiar with the 2012 Consensus Statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/A.S.P.E.N., which recommends specific markers and characteristics for diagnosis of malnutrition.
"Nutrition is a key component of any patient's overall health and of their post-hospitalization recovery," said the study's co-author Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, A.S.P.E.N.'s Senior Director of Clinical Practice, Quality, and Advocacy. "While it is good news to find that hospitals are complying with the nutrition screening mandate, it is discouraging to see such disparity between facilities in how they conduct the follow-up assessment, diagnosis, and invention."
A lack of clinician participation in the nutrition care process along with an inconsistent knowledge and use of available tools and insufficient training of caregivers to identify and treat malnutrition in patients were also found to be a problem among hospitals.
The survey authors call for professional medical societies to further educate their members on the issue of malnutrition and for additional studies and audits of existing practices to determine ideal practices for nutrition care plans. A.S.P.E.N. also believes that the results of this study support the need for a nationally standardized approach to nutrition assessment, diagnosis, and care.
Nutrition in Clinical Practice (NCP) is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal that publishes articles about the scientific basis and clinical application of nutrition and nutrition support. NCP contains comprehensive reviews, clinical research, case observations, and other types of papers written by experts in the field of nutrition and healthcare practitioners involved in the delivery of specialized nutrition support. NCP is an official journal of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.). This journal is also a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,000 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about A.S.P.E.N., please visit http://www.