Malnutrition Is Common at Hospital Admission and Pre-Discharge

Dutch hospitals screen patients for malnutrition upon admission but not at follow-up or before discharge. A study examined the prevalence of malnutrition among patients during hospitalization and just before discharge.

Using the Patient-Generated Subj­­ective Global Assessment (PG-SGA), patients were stratified by nutritional status, which was classified as three categories: well-nourished (A), moderate/suspected malnutrition (B), and severely malnourished (C). The study included adults from four wards of a university hospital. Analyses were performed at admission, day five, day 10, and day ≥15. Final assessment was taken within four days of discharge.

PG-SGA data at admission were available for 584 patients (mean age, 57.2 years; 51.4% were female; mean body mass index, 27.0 kg/m2). PG-SGA stage B or C rates were 31% at admission, 56% on day five (n=292), 66% on day 10 (n=101), and 79% on day ≥15 (n=14). PG-SGA pre-discharge data were obtained for 537 patients; more than one-third (36%) had PG-SGA stage B or C. Admission and pre-discharge assessments were available for 91 patients, of whom 30% of well-nourished patients became malnourished; most malnourished patients (82%) remained malnourished.

“Prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalized patients is high at admission (31%) and importantly, also high pre-discharge (36%). Malnutrition is more prevalent in patients with a longer length of stay. These findings underscore the importance of follow-up of nutritional status in hospitalized patients and adequate transmural nutrition care after discharge to prevent malnutrition from remaining undetected and untreated,” the researchers concluded.