Sept. 23: Malnutrition Matters
When we talk about Banner Good Samaritan being the Place of Possibilities, it starts with each of your contributions. I see examples of that every day — where each of you contribute to making our care safer, more effective, efficient, timely and patient centered.
Today, I’d like to share the words of Stephanie Carrell, a Clinical Dietitian at Banner Good Sam. Let’s hear her describe how each of us can contribute to solving the problem of malnutrition at Banner Good Samaritan...
Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.
By Stephanie Carrell, clinical dietitian
Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center is participating in Malnutrition Awareness Week from September 23 to 27. The goal of this week is to bring attention to this serious problem and raise awareness of hospitalized patients who suffer from malnutrition. The Registered Dietitian is the expert for managing the nutrition care of the hospitalized patient, but every member of the health care team can play a valuable role in preventing and treating malnutrition.
Malnutrition matters because one in every three patients will enter the hospital malnourished. While most agree that proper nutrition is a vital part of the healing process, the fact remains that 50 percent of malnourished patients are not even identified as such!
Malnutrition can increase incidents of complications such as pressure ulcers, infections and falls. All of these lead to escalating costs and decreased quality of care. With the changing health care landscape, it is more important than ever to do whatever we can to prevent these hospital acquired conditions. Nutrition intervention is a cost-effective and easily available method of prevention.
Identification and treatment of malnutrition is a team effort. Every member of the health care team has the opportunity to improve nutrition care. Nurses are usually first to identify risk factors for malnutrition during the admission health screen. Nursing aides assist by documenting meal intake and assisting patients with meals. Physicians have the important role of diagnosing and coding for malnutrition. Registered Dietitians can diagnose malnutrition, create a care plan and monitor the success of the interventions.
If nutrition is addressed through a collaborative effort with the multidisciplinary team, it can mean improved outcomes and reduced hospital costs. When malnutrition is treated early, some studies have shown up to 28 percent reduction in readmissions, 25 percent reduction in pressure ulcers and significantly fewer falls.
The Malnutrition Matters campaign kicking off this week will highlight several ways that all Banner Good Samaritan staff can be involved in their patients’ nutrition care. The first step is early recognition of potential nutrition problems. The admission health profile Nutrition Screen in the EMR is the easiest way for the nurse to notify the nutrition team of a potential problem. Our initial goal of the campaign is to improve the percentage of patients who have this form completed upon admission.
I propose that we do not treat this topic like a fad diet, that will fade away in a week, but we act as if this is a lifestyle or culture change to one where all key stakeholders value nutrition. To learn more about what you can do to prevent and treat malnutrition, stop by our booth in the Banner Good Samaritan Cafeteria this week or check out Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition.