Malnutrition - Danger during the daily clinical routine

For a long time, hospital food did not receive the attention it deserved. But in recent years people have become more aware of the growing problems of malnutrition in hospitals. Especially elderly patients are at risk of malnutrition. Several studies have concluded that between 25% to 50% of them are already malnourished upon admission at the hospital and the longer they stay in inpatient care, the more their nutritional status worsens.

The causes of malnutrition are manifold. Within the home environment, age-related changes, reduced mobility and socio-economic factors are often the catalyst. Acute or chronic diseases can accelerate this process as they sometimes increase the needed energy. Many hospitals do not adequately meet the dietary needs of their elderly patients and often pre-existing deficits do not get treated and might even be facilitated.

Meals usually are not flavored to the tastes of older people and lose important nutrients through repeated heat-ups or from being kept warm for too long. Tightly scheduled hospital procedures and staff shortage also cause patients to not finish or only partially eat their meals. In many cases, the care for patients who do not eat or those who cannot be fully fed via enteral administration is often substandard. Malnutrition not be trivialized as it has a decisive influence on the course of a patient’s treatment, on the complication rates as well as their morbidity and mortality. Similarly, a poor nutritional status extends the average length of a patient’s stay and thus contributes to rising health costs.

Fortunately, nutritional medicine has become more significant in recent years. A patient’s diet is no longer considered the mere covering of a basic need, but as part of a patient’s therapy. Many clinics have therefore implemented assessment and screening methods to detect malnutrition early on. During the daily clinical routine, however, the evaluation of the nutritional status is difficult, especially in bedridden or severely restricted patients. seca’s mobile seca mBCA 525 was developed specifically for this group of patients as this device can carry out a bio impedance analysis directly at the patient's bed and can determine the proportion of the individual body compartments. 

The seca mBCA has been validated using the respective reference methods and thus guarantees the highest precision. It is not only suitable as a screening method but can also be used for regular monitoring of the patient’s condition. As part of a hospital stay, a patient’s nutritional condition has highly relevant to their health. It is very important to diagnose a beginning or already apparent malnutrition as early as possible and to quickly treat it. Regularly monitoring weight and body composition should always be considered a part of a patient’s therapy. Closely managing the nutritional status thus can improve a patient’s quality of life and even encourage their recovery.

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