NUH sees success in tackling patient malnutrition

A two-year comprehensive effort by the National University Hospital (NUH) to screen for and tackle patient malnutrition has shown positive results.

Almost all malnourished patients are detected compared to just three per cent of admitted patients screened before this effort. A 2006 NUH study found that on average about 30 per cent average of admitted patients are found to be malnourished and no data was kept on their nutritional improvement.

With the new efforts, three of four of the patients detected to be malnourished improved their nutritional health during their stay, and even after discharge.

NUH attributes this improvement to their emphasis on an 'end-to-end' continuity of care, where dieticians help patients overcome their malnutrition from their point of admission till after they are discharged. The 2006 study, the first local study to look at the health outcomes of malnutrition, found that malnourished patients tend to have higher mortality rates, longer hospital stays, and spend more on medical care.

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