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Nutrition. 2005 Nov-Dec;21(11-12):1127-33.

Cost savings of an adult hospital nutrition support team.

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Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK.



A hospital-based nutrition support team (NST) may need to demonstrate cost savings and quality benefits. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether an NST could show tangible cost savings (equipment, investigations, and medication costs) from managing patients considered for parenteral nutrition (PN). Secondary aims related to the quality issues of placement of PN catheters, catheter-related sepsis (CRS), duration of parenteral nutrition, and mortality.


An NST was formed in 1999 and worked in all adult areas of a university hospital (Leicester Royal Infirmary). Comparative data about all patients given PN were collected for 2 consecutive years (a retrospective pre-NST year and a prospective NST year).


In the pre-NST year there were 82 PN episodes (54 patients), 665 PN days, and a CRS rate of 71% (seven infections/100 PN days). In the NST year, there were 133 referrals for PN but only 78 PN episodes (75 patients, 59% of referrals), 752 PN days, and a decreased overall CRS rate of 29% (three infections/100 PN days, P < 0.05) but a rate of 7% (0.6 infection/100 PN days) in the final 3 mo of the NST year. Tangible cost savings for the NST year were derived from 55 avoided PN episodes (42741 pounds sterlings) and 35 avoided CRS episodes (7974 pounds sterlings). Thirty-nine percent of PN catheters were inserted by the NST with no insertion-related complications. Competency-based training of ward nursing staff decreased the CRS rate. Mean duration of PN increased from 8 to 10 d (P not significant). In-hospital mortality for patients who had PN was 23 of 54 (43%) in the pre-NST year compared with 18 of 75 (24%) in the NST year (P < 0.05).


Although the number of PN days increased with an NST, tangible cost savings of 50715 pounds sterlings were demonstrated within the NST year by avoided PN episodes and a decreased incidence of CRS. These savings justify the salaries of a nutrition nurse specialist and a senior dietitian.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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