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University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Battles Malnutrition

Studies estimate that nearly one out of five pediatric patients and one out of three adult patients aged 60 and older are malnourished. Malnourished patients often experience longer lengths of stay, higher rates of complications, mortality and increased costs. The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (UVM Health Network – CVPH) formed a malnutrition steering committee to combat malnourishment.

UVM Health Network – CVPH’s malnutrition steering committee implemented best practice guidelines through a phased approach, focusing on screening for malnutrition characteristics: weight loss, appetite, functional grip strength, fluid accumulation, muscle loss and fat loss. Findings are used to create a patient-centered care plan and treatment. Hand dynamometers were introduced to measure grip strength and clinical staff were educated on screening standards with improved electronic medical record integration. Physician, nursing and nutrition staff were educated on screening techniques and assessment.

From 2013 to 2017, readmissions of medically malnourished patients decreased from 32.6% to 17.7%. Malnutrition diagnoses increased from 109 to 744. Length of stay was reduced from 20.4 days to 14.5 days. Dietician capture rate improved from 52.7% to a peak 82.4%. Capture of the acute care malnourished population improved, from 25.4% to 39.3% at admission and from 30.8% to 57.8% during stay.

For more information, contact Eric Gadway, RN, BXN, CMSRN, ONC, Supervisor, Clinical Operations, CVPH, at (518) 562-7765 or at egadway@cvph.org, or Shey Lawrence Schnell, MHA, RD, Director, Food and Nutrition Services, CVPH, at (518) 562-7717 or at sschnell@cvph.org.