Improving Patients’ Home Nutrition Practices Improve Health, Lower Health Care Costs, Study Finds
Lack of nutritious food can go both ways, leading to either malnutrition or obesity. All over the world, people can be exposed to both forms of malnutrition at different times in their lives, where a person might be malnourished in childhood and obese later in adulthood.
In the United States alone, more than 25% of seniors living in the community are at nutritional risk. The health burdens and costs of poor nutrition can be reduced by inpatient nutrition programs, however few studies have examined the impact on outpatients.
A recent study published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Healthdiscovered that a simple new model of care called PAQ, short for Real-World Quality Improvement Program, can help improve care, reduce the use of healthcare resources, and lower the costs of care health.
“Nutrition care quality improvement programs or QIPs like the one implemented in this study demonstrate the power of nutrition by simulating a real patient experience and incorporating systematic actions that can lead to measurable improvements in health care services. health and patient outcomes. Prioritizing nutrition in different health care settings, including outpatient clinics, can help health care providers give their patients the best chance for rapid recovery which can allow them to resume healthy lives ”,Explained one of the study’s researchers, Suela Sulo, director of Health Economics, Outcomes Research, & Policy.
Sulo added that QAPs are sustainable, scalable and repeatable because they are adaptable and have been shown to produce positive results, improve patient health and reduce costs.
The 90-day home study involved screening health professionals for the risk of malnutrition, setting up a nutritional care plan that included nutritional supplementation, and teaching the importance of healthy eating habits. .
The study was implemented in three clinics in the US healthcare system and involved 600 patients aged 45 and over with chronic illnesses. The subjects were predominantly women (62.5%) and overweight / obese (81.7%).
“The results of this study revealed that supplementing their diet with nutritional drinks like Ensure or Glucerna can help people at risk of malnutrition or with nutritional deficiencies do three things that are key positive outcomes: have good health and reduce the risk of hospitalization, support recovery / healing at home and promote faster recovery after recent hospitalization ”,Sulo explained.
The study found that implementing a nutrition program helped improve care, reduce the use of health resources, and lower health care costs. The three clinics that participated in the study observed:
- There was an 11.6% decrease in the percentage of patients requiring healthcare resources, which allowed healthcare professionals to better manage their patients while reducing costs
- Screening and interventions resulted in net savings of nearly $ 500 per patient
- Over 81% of patients said they were very satisfied with their nutritional care.
“This is the first-ever study to assess the clinical costs and benefits of a real-world nutrition-focused QIP over a 90-day period in outpatient clinics in the United States. We believe our findings on reducing health resource use and costs are compelling. The study involved doctors, medical assistants and RDNs, all of whom are major healthcare providers and are part of the care team in outpatient clinics. Health care providers implemented the nutritional care process as part of routine patient visits. Notably, the QIP implementation steps did not require additional time with the patient, an “extra” visit, or additional staff resources. We have thus shown how outpatient clinics are particularly well placed to provide early nutritional interventions to populations with a wide range of chronic diseases and socio-demographic characteristics ”,note the authors.
Sulo said Nutra Ingredients-United StatesThat there are several challenges for the implementation of the QIP, including compliance and the fact that malnutrition is not easily detectable without a full assessment.
“And because malnutrition assessments are not currently needed, there is always a blind spot in health care. We know that poor nutritional status can lead to the development of new conditions or exacerbate existing ones, making it important to recognize and treat malnutrition as a vital sign in the same way as blood pressure assessments, heart rate or body temperature.
Sulo added that research highlights the importance of screening for malnutrition as part of overall health screening during routine or recurrent clinical visits, similar to conventional screenings for vital signs such as blood pressure or frequency. cardiac.
“By recognizing that a person is at risk for malnutrition, health care providers can develop a nutritional care plan to help give patients better health outcomes as well as the ability to recover faster.”Sulo said.
Source: Journal of Primary Care and Community Health
“Nutritional care for malnourished outpatients reduces resource use and costs”
Authors: K. Hong et al.