By Catherine D’Andrea, RDN, LDN, and Marcia Nusgart, RPh
Malnutrition is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, especially among older hospitalized adults, yet it often goes undiagnosed and therefore untreated. It has been established that malnourished hospitalized patients experience slower wound healing, higher risks of infection, and longer length of stay. Malnutrition is a burdensome condition associated with a 34% higher cost for a hospital stay compared with a non-malnourished patient. Sufficient macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fats, and water) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are vital for the body to support tissue integrity and prevent breakdown. Research supports that weight loss and difficulties with eating can increase the incidence of pressure injuries.