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You Can Make a Difference When It Comes to Malnutrition

Julie Stefanski MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDE What if you had the potential to save your facility thousands of dollars? A growing body of evidence is demonstrating that significant revenue is lost when malnutrition goes undiagnosed and untreated. Up to 50% of hospitalized patients are at risk for or already have malnutrition, but only 7% actually receive a diagnosis and treatment.1,2  Malnutrition can significantly impact Medicare reimbursement and the case mix index for a facility. Our new interdisciplinary continuing education course Malnutrition Alert! How to Improve Patient Outcomes for nurses, dietitians, and physicians is designed to help you recognize the role that protein-calorie malnutrition plays in adult morbidity and mortality and to focus on the tasks required of the interprofessional team in preventing, diagnosing, and treating malnutrition. Written by Terese Scollard, MBA, RDN, LD, FAND, a leading expert in malnutrition, and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics work group that in 2012 designed and released the Consensus Statement on malnutrition, this course provides the guidelines you need to tackle this important condition. Patients who are malnourished may not only have longer lengths of stay of up to 4 to 6 days, but hospital costs are on average twice as high for patients with malnutrition.2,3 Malnutrition can also lead to: An increased risk of adverse events and complications A 54% higher likelihood of hospital 30-day readmission4 Up to a 5 times more likely in-hospital death than a non-malnourished patient2 Prior to 2012 it was difficult to diagnose malnutrition in the past as there were no widely accepted characteristics that clinicians could use to classify this condition consistently throughout all care settings.  That all changed with the publication of the Academy of Nutrition and [...]

Do You Screen Your Nutrition Clients for Depression?

Julie Stefanski MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDE While the word “hangry” was only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018, the connection between our food choices and our mood is clear to anyone who’s ever gotten testy when mealtime was delayed or turned to a comfort food for emotional support. October 11, 2018 is National Depression Screening Day https://mentalhealthscreening.org/media/fact-sheet-national-depression-screening-day. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are in a unique position to screen for mental health issues including depression that may not have been addressed appropriately. While clients may seek help regarding excessive weight gain or weight loss from a dietitian, those two nutrition issues are just one example of a possible side effect from an underlying psychological issue such as anxiety or depression. Jennifer Pelton, LCSW, a licensed social worker in York, PA points out that depression can take many forms depending on the persons' identified type of disorder according to the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Pelton explained, “There are a few types of patterns an RD may identify in a client. One type could be someone who can’t perform daily activities due to extreme lack of energy and engagement in everyday jobs/roles. Another person may be over eating or using binge type behaviors in order to compensate for negative emotions, and is using eating as a form of coping.” Screen for Depression During the task of gathering medical and social history on a client, a dietitian may casually pick up on signs of depression, but there are also some tools to assist healthcare providers in screening for depression including PHQ-9 or Mood and feelings Questionnaire (MFQ) – short version. Dietitians should be on the lookout for other food related [...]

Experts Offer the Easiest Ways to Add More Plants to Your Plate

What’s the real secret to reducing disease risk through nutrition? Time and time again, despite the design of the study, the number of participants, or the timeframe of the intervention, nutrition research shows us that humans are healthier when they eat more vegetables. As healthcare professionals, we strive to keep our choices based on evidence-based practice. What’s holding you back from applying what we know about nutrition to your life? While June is national fresh fruit and vegetable month, any way that you can make your diet more plant based is a good move for health. We asked Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for the easiest ways to get those five recommended cups of valuable plants into your daily routine. First Things First Opting for vegetables at breakfast is a favorite of many nutrition experts. Kate Chury, RD, of www.thinkybites.com suggests keeping a good supply of frozen vegetables on hand for both convenience and their nutritional value. “My personal favorites for frozen vegetables are broccoli, spinach and asparagus,” Chury said. “I often use these frozen veggies in my scrambled eggs at breakfast. It can be hard to eat vegetables at breakfast time, and I've found this is an excellent way to get some in the morning. Frozen vegetables are also great to add to soups, pastas, curries or just to have as a simple, quick side.” Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, of Kellyjonesnutrition.com agreed. “I always have frozen vegetables on hand, especially broccoli and cauliflower, which I’ll roast on the convection setting in my oven, and in 15 minutes they’re ready to go with any protein or starch for dinner,” she said. “Any leftovers can be added to omelettes or used with lunch the next day.” The rest of your day [...]