tips for patients

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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 [...]

Calcium and meal planning: Simple reminders from RDNs to patients

Editor's note: This post is brought to you by Creamy Bites. As RDNs, we know that the benefits of calcium are many. This becomes so obvious to us that we sometimes neglect to remind patients that calcium cannot act alone. We teach patients that it is good to eat a variety of calcium-containing foods, from both plant and animal sources, but they must keep in mind that bioavailability differs between the two. Fundamentally, plant foods are rich in nutrients (potassium, magnesium, vitamin C) that aid calcium absorption, but also contain those that actually hinder it, such as oxalates and phytates.1-3 Patients need to understand this paradox, as it means it takes more plant sources than animal sources to net the same amount of calcium absorbed.4 Fortunately, there are simple and easy measures patients can take to increase calcium intake and absorption simultaneously. For instance, eating calcium-rich foods in combination with foods that enhance absorption, such as those high in vitamin D, potassium and protein.1,5 Consider the simple mix-and-match approach in the table to combine high-calcium foods with high-vitamin D foods. This helps patients optimize intake and absorption of both nutrients.6-9 Good Sources of Calcium (~300 mg) Milk, 1 cup Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella), low fat, 1-1⁄2 oz. Tofu, calcium fortified, 1 cup (~200 mg) Canned salmon or sardines (with soft bones), 3 oz. Cereal, calcium fortified, 1 cup Kale or collard greens, 1 cup cooked (~50 mg) White beans, canned, 1⁄2 cup Corn tortilla, 1 medium Broccoli, 1⁄2 cup cooked Almonds, 2 tablespoons Good Sources of Vitamin D Egg yolks Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel Cheese Fortified milk, orange juice, cereals Beef liver Tuna Simple meal ideas might include: Breakfast tacos: 1 corn tortilla, 1 egg, [...]