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From Hospital to Home: Canadian Malnutrition Week
September 25, 2017

Malnutrition includes both the deficiency and excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients. Undernutrition affects body tissues, functional ability and overall health. In hospitalized patients, undernutrition is often complicated by acute conditions (e.g. a trauma), infections and diseases that cause inflammation. Such complications worsen undernutrition and make it more challenging to correct due to extensive physiological changes and increased nutritional needs when appetite is decreased.

For many patients, the transition to home from hospital can lead to increased vulnerability to malnutrition and poor health outcomes.

One in four patients lose weight unintentionally when they leave a hospital and this could lead to a return visit. Only 10% of patients leaving hospital will see a dietitian in their community.

Patients likely to be at ongoing risk for malnutrition after hospital discharge:

  • Over the age of 65
  • Poor appetite
  • Require some assistance to get groceries
  • On a hard to follow diet

Helping Patients Home

HPHA's Registered Dietitians assist with the transition from hospital to home by:

  • Providing education on important nutritional facts that are essential for recovery and good health
  • Connecting patients with community resources that are available for nutritional support (home care services, outpatient dietitian, cooking classes, meal/grocery delivery, community dining programs)
  • Encouraging appropriate monitoring of appetite and weight
  • Providing guidance on types of food to keep stocked on the shelves and the refrigerator
  • Providing patients with a summary of their nutritional status that can be shared with their family physician and health care workers

Dietitians like Shefali & Megan assist patients with the transition from hospital to home to help prevent malnutrition.

Learn more about Canadian Malnutrition Week by clicking here!