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Long Term Care Professionals
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Registered Dietitians, Diet Technicians and Food Service Directors in LTC:

  • Registered Dietitians, Diet Technicians, Food Service Directors and Dietary Managers in Long Term Care (LTC), welcome to the National Policy & Resource Center on Nutrition & Aging, Long Term Care Institute.

    How severe is the problem of malnutrition and dehydration?

    • It is estimated that 35-85% of long term care residents are at risk for malnutrition and dehydration - LA Times, 2001 -
    • About 50% of elderly Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with dehydration died within a year of admission - Am J Public Health, 1994
    • Pressure ulcers, a problem clearly associated with protein-calorie malnutrition, have been reported to be between 15 and 25% for residents admitted to LTC facilities, and the longer a resident stays in a nursing home, the greater the likelihood of developing an ulcer
      - Geriatric Medicine, Mayo Clinic Web Site, 2001
    • 7 out of 10 nursing home residents fail to finish 75% of their food, and inadequate food intake is a major determinant of mortality in the frail elderly in nursing homes
      - UCLA's Borun Center on Aging -

    What is it costing?

    • 1996 data showed that 208,000 hospitalized patients above the age of 65 had a primary diagnosis of dehydration, average length of stay 5.8 days - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics, 1998
    • The cost of resources needed to heal one pressure ulcer ranges from $10,000 - $40,000 - Heart and Lung, 1988
    • Government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, pay for the care given to nearly 70% of the 1.5 million nursing home patients in the US - CNN/Associated Press, 2001
    • The number of lawsuits against nursing homes has increased 9% nationally each year in the last five years, while the average amount of claims has risen from $64,015 to $112,351
      - California Healthline, 2000 -

    Solutions

    • Use of relevant staff education programs which address nutrition and hydration as a facility wide issue
    • Implementation of validated systems and programs developed for interdisciplinary staff
    • More time spent by dietitians in nursing homes

    Potential Outcomes For:

      Residents
    • Reduce incidence of unintended weight loss
    • Improve hydration status
    • Improve prevention and healing of pressure ulcers
    • Decrease readmissions to the hospital

      Staff/Facility
    • Improve staff education
    • Improve nutrition and hydration systems
    • Decrease number and severity of citations related to weight loss, dehydration, and resident dining
    • Decrease cost of litigation and liability insurance premiums

    The National Policy & Resource Center on Nutrition & Aging has made available a variety of free downloadable materials for use in Long Term Care facilities. The Center's Long Term Care Institute has developed programs and tools to improve nutrition and hydration systems in nursing homes.These materials include educational tools in English, Spanish and Creole languages for food service workers, How-To Guide for development of an interdisciplinary dining program, validated system for accurately recording residents' food and fluid intake and system for obtaining and trending accurate heights and body weights.

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National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity & Aging
| Florida International University, OE 200, Miami, FL 33199
Phone: 305-348-1517 | Fax: 305-348-1518 | E-mail:
nutritionandaging@fiu.edu

This website is supported, in part, by a grant from the Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS). Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their
findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, reflect official DHHS policy.