Hospitals Put Nutrition on the Front Burner

Hospitals and health systems around the nation are promoting healthy living by revamping their food offerings to set a better example for the communities they serve. Research shows that one-third of patients enter the hospital malnourished and, if left untreated, two-thirds of those will experience further decline. Half of malnourished inpatients go undiagnosed. Malnourished patients tend to have more complications, readmissions and longer lengths of stay. Paying attention to what and how all patients eat can improve outcomes and lower costs. New health systems services rules and penalties around readmissions and complications have prompted hospital executives to take a closer look at nutrition as a tool to reduce incidence of adverse events. Recognizing that nutrition doesn’t stop at the hospital walls, health systems are implementing programs that allow patients to experience better nutrition at home and across the care continuum.