Hospital Malnutrition Today and Bridging Gaps to the Community Tomorrow

In recognition of Malnutrition Awareness Week™, The MANNA Institute hosted its first Academic Seminar “Hospital Malnutrition Today and Bridging Gaps to the Community Tomorrow.” The online seminar featured speakers from Penn Medicine’s clinical nutrition department and highlighted the scope and impact of malnutrition in hospital settings. Over 80 professionals joined the meeting to learn more about promising practices in identifying, measuring, coding, and alleviating in-patient malnutrition.

MANNA’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Jule Anne Henstenburg, introduced speakers and moderated a lively question and answer session following the presentation. Kristen Dwinnells, Clinical Manager in Clinical Nutrition Support Services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) was first to speak during the seminar, describing the modern day definition of malnutrition and its impact on outcomes and hospital costs. Dwinnells highlighted how HUP’s progressive nutrition program implemented the national consensus guidelines, leveraged the electronic medical record to collect data, and impacted provider identification and documentation of malnutrition.

Lauren Hudson, Assistant Executive Hospital Director and Director of Clinical Nutrition Support Services at HUP, followed by explaining the impact of enhanced identification and coding of malnutrition throughout the care process. Only after these documentation processes were well established could the team analyze and visualize the impact of moderate or severe malnutrition on hospital readmission rates and length of stay – measures that correlated directly with malnutrition severity.

With this data in hand, Hudson shared that the team will now focus on “Enhanced Nutrition Discharge” to improve continuity in care with electronic prescribing of diets and nutrition supplements. Hudson explained the importance of linking patients to community-based services at discharge, potentially connecting patients directly to MANNA’s medically tailored meal program to meet acute nutritional needs and reduce rates of readmission – a win for patients and providers alike.

The seminar underscored the significance of hospital malnutrition and the opportunities we have to address the problem, a timely reminder during ASPEN’s annual Malnutrition Awareness Week™ which concludes today. We hope you join the MANNA Institute for future seminars so we can continue learning from the experiences of nutrition experts and improve nutrition care for all.