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Malnutrition can be defined as a state of nutrition in which a deficiency or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effects on tissue/body form (body shape, size, composition) body function and clinical outcome. Malnutrition is a highly prevalent condition in the acute hospital setting with studies reporting rates of approximately 40%. Malnutrition is associated with many adverse outcomes including depression of the immune system, impaired wound healing, muscle wasting, longer lengths of hospital stay and increased mortality. Unidentified malnutrition not only heightens the risk of adverse complications for patients but results in an increase in health care costs. This can be prevented if special attention is given to their nutritional care. For this reason, hospital and healthcare organizations should have a policy and a specific set of protocols for identifying patients at nutritional risk, leading to appropriate care plans. The objective of this monograph is to provide evidence-based recommendations for the proper management of malnutrition by multi-parametric analysis of the guidelines available to date.
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