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Nutr Clin Pract. 2013 Dec;28(6):691-7. doi: 10.1177/0884533613507455. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

State of nutrition support teams.

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Mark Henry DeLegge, Medical University of South Carolina, 25 Courtenay St, Suite 7100A, Charleston, SC 29425, USA. Email:

Erratum in

  • Nutr Clin Pract. 2014 Jun;29(3):412. Kelley, Andrea True [corrected to Kelly, Andrea True].


The incidence of malnutrition in hospitalized patients is relatively high (up to 55%) despite breakthroughs in nutrition support therapies. These patients have increased morbidity and mortality, extended hospital stays, and care that is associated with higher costs. These patients are often poorly managed due to inadequate nutrition assessment and poor medical knowledge and practice in the field of nutrition. Nutrition support teams (NSTs) are interdisciplinary support teams with specialty training in nutrition that are often comprised of physicians, dietitians, nurses, and pharmacists. Their role includes nutrition assessment, determination of nutrition needs, recommendations for appropriate nutrition therapy, and management of nutrition support therapy. Studies have demonstrated significant improvements in patient nutrition status and improved clinical outcomes as well as reductions in costs when patients were appropriately managed by a multispecialty NST vs individual caregivers. Despite this, there has been steady decline in the number of formal NST in recent years (65% of hospitals in 1995 to 42% in 2008) as hospitals and other healthcare organizations look for ways to cut costs. Given the importance of nutrition status on clinical outcomes and overall healthcare costs, a number of institutions have introduced and sustained strong nutrition training and support programs and teams, demonstrating both clinical and economic benefit. The benefits of NST, training and implementation strategies, and tips for justifying these clinically and economically beneficial groups to healthcare organizations and governing bodies are discussed in this review.


enteral nutrition; nutrition support teams; nutritional support; parenteral nutrition; reimbursement patient care team

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