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Clin Nutr. 2006 Dec;25(6):1015-29. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

The state of the provision of nutritional care to hospitalized patients--results from The Elan-Cuba Study.

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The Cuban Group for the Study of Hospital Malnutrition, Habana, Cuba.


Current nutritional care provision to 1905 patients hospitalized in 12 Cuban hospitals is presented in this article, diagnosed after conducting the Hospital Nutrition Survey (HNS), as part of the activities comprising the Cuban Study of Hospital Malnutrition (Elan-Cuba). The obtained HNS results were contrasted with standards regarding the nutritional assessment of hospitalized patient, the diagnosis of nutritional disorders occurring in the patient, and the identification of patients in need of nutritional intervention. The Elan-Cuba Study returned a 41.2% malnutrition rate [Barreto Penié J, Cuban Group for the Study of Hospital Malnutrition. State of malnutrition in Cuban hospitals. Nutrition 2005;21:487-97]. However, malnutrition was recorded as an independent diagnosis in only 0.4% of the surveyed clinical charts. It could not be shown that medical care teams were systematically applying any of the techniques and procedures recommended for the assessment of the nutritional status of hospitalized patients. In the best of the cases, only 40.6% of the surveyed patients had their height and weight recorded in their clinical charts at admission, 9.0% of those with more than 15 days of hospitalization had a prospective value of weight, and less than 20.0% of them had their serum albumin levels and/or their counts of Lymphocytes annotated on their clinical charts. Although 10.9% of the surveyed patients (median of the subcategories values; range: 3.5-41.2%) fulfilled an indication for nutritional intervention, support (enteral and/or parenteral) was only provided to less than 15.0% of them, with the exception made of patients on NPO, of whom 32.3% received either of the two modes of artificial nutrition listed above. It is to be noticed that none of the patients with chronic organic failure were on nutritional support at the time of the survey. The current nutritional care provision to the hospitalized patient might explain the increased rates of hospital malnutrition documented in the Elan-Cuba Study, and should lead to the design and urgent implementation of nutritional and metabolic intervention programs in the surveyed hospitals, given the deleterious effects of nutritional disorders upon the ultimate results of the medical and surgical actions, and the quality and costs of medical care.

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