Nutrition critical in patient care

06/Oct/2020     Health

Tuesday 6 to Friday 9 October is International Malnutrition Awareness Week aimed at raising awareness of malnutrition in hospitalised patients of all ages and the negative impacts this can have.

Director Dietetics and Food Services Honorary Associate Professor Sally McCray says that research shows that it is estimated between 30 to 50 per cent of hospitalised patients are malnourished around the world, often due to their medical condition, their treatment and associated possible side effects.

“One of the difficulties many patients have is eating enough to meet their nutritional requirements while in hospital. It is well documented in the research that malnourished patients have greater incidence of medical complications, longer length of hospital stays, higher mortality rates and higher medical costs,” Sally said.

“Mater’s Dietetics and Food Services team has maintained a strong focus on assisting patients increase their nutritional intake while in hospital since the introduction of their room service model, the first of its kind in Australia which has demonstrated significant improvements in patients meeting their requirements.

“At the same time, we have been working hard to improve our processes and tools used to identify, diagnose and treat malnutrition in our patients, including the recent development of an electronic malnutrition solution in collaboration with our menu management software vendor, CBORD, and our Data Analytics team here at Mater.”

Sally said they are the first to pilot and now use this tool in Australia and this has led to significant improvements in the early identification and management of at-risk patients.

“This new data analytics capability also allows dietitians to clearly visualise each individual patient’s nutritional intake against their requirements in real time and at each meal, each day allowing for quicker and more tailored treatment for at-risk patients, improving their clinical outcomes,” Sally said.

Sally has recently been awarded the Above and Beyond International CBORD Excellence award for this collaboration and development of this innovative tool and data analytics solution. 

To further share her knowledge and expertise on Malnutrition Sally will be presenting at the Dietitian Connection webinar series which will showcase the use of an electronic systems to improve malnutrition screening and assessment compliance, comprehensive monitoring of patient nutrition risk factors including intake vs requirements and enhance staff efficiencies which you can read here.

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