Thursday, December 8, 2016
THE COST OF MALNUTRITION
According to the Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition, 1 in every 3 patients arrives at a hospital malnourished. Elderly patients are particularly at risk. Experts suggest malnutrition has a significant negative impact on state budgets. A recent study found that direct medical costs caused by disease-associated malnutrition were between $36 and $65 per capita across the states—ranging from a total of $7 million in Alaska up to $492.5 million in California. The national overall annual cost of disease-associated malnutrition is more than $15.5 billion. Malnourished patients are twice as likely to develop a pressure ulcer in the hospital and have three times the risk for surgical-site infection. But tool kits and protocols that provide evidence-based, high-quality, patient-driven malnutrition care for older adults can mitigate problems. For example, one recent study found that the Cleveland Clinic was able to reduce the length of stays, readmissions, and costs of care after implementing a malnutrition protocol.