Significance: It is estimated that up to 50% of hospitalized patients are malnourished. Malnutrition can lead to longer hospital stays, altered immune function, and impaired skin integrity and wound healing. Malnutrition has been found to be a significant factor influencing pressure injury (PI) risk and wound healing. While PI prevention requires multidimensional complex care using a variety of evidence-based strategies, hospitalized patients benefit from interventions that focus on improving oral nutrition to reduce PI risk and enhance wound healing. Unfortunately, malnutrition is often under-recognized and inadequately managed in hospitalized patients and this can lead to higher rates of complications such as PI. Recent Advances: Recent studies suggest that nutritional care has a major impact in PI prevention and management. Strategies, including early identification and management of malnutrition and provision of specially-formulated oral nutritional interventions to at-risk patients, optimization of electronic health record systems to allow for enhanced administration, monitoring, and evaluation of nutritional therapies, and implementation of protocol-based computerized decision support systems, have been reported to improve outcomes. Critical Issues: Unfortunately, there are gaps in the implementation of nutritional care in hospitals. Timely identification and management of malnutrition is needed to advance quality care for hospitalized patients and reduce malnutrition and associated PI. Future Directions: Further research on effective, evidence-based strategies for implementation of all stages of the nutrition care process is needed to reduce pressure injuries and malnutrition in hospitalized patients.
Keywords: hospitalized patients; malnutrition; nutrition; oral nutritional supplements; pressure injury.
Copyright 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.