The incidence of malnutrition in hospitalized patients is often underestimated. Malnutrition has a strong impact on morbidity and length of hospital stay, health care costs etc. Up to 60% of patients in hospitals are suffering from malnutrition which is often the cause for serious complications such as an increasing risk of sepsis, infection, inflammation or organ failure. The consequences of these complications are, for example, reduced wound healing leading to a significantly increased morbidity and mortality. To avoid these consequences an appropriate nutritional therapy is an indispensable method of treatment especially for critically ill patients.
The right nutrition therapy (enteral and/or parenteral nutrition) will not only minimize the risk of morbidity and mortality by strengthening your patients immune system and organ functions, but also could lead to a faster recovery. This will reduce the duration of hospital stay and in the end the costs for treatment.
Screening of Malnutrition
A simple screening of risk groups and a systematic nutrition therapy of these patients can improve the nutritional status and may reduce the risks associated with malnutrition. Therefore, the determination of the nutritional status should be part of each physical examination in order to identify patients at risk of malnutrition, to evaluate their risk and to define individual nutrition therapy.
There are a number of different valuable screening tools available, such as the NRS-2002 (Nutrition Risk Screening), the `Must´ (´Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool´) and the SGA (Subjective Global Assessment).
Consequences of malnutrition:
- Increased length of hospital stay
- Increased morbidity and mortality
- Increase in infectious complications
- Reduced wound healing
- Increased healthcare costs