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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Home nutrition support team interventions improved patient care and potentially prevented an estimated 429 hospital days over a three-month period, at a cost savings of more than $850,000, according to new data presented by Walgreens Infusion Services at the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Clinical Nutrition Week meeting Monday in Phoenix.
“Dietitians are experts in nutrition support and play a vital role in home-delivered care,” stated Noreen Luszcz, Walgreens Infusion Services nutrition program director. “Our home nutrition support teams work together to proactively monitor patients' therapy and provide regular updates to the patient’s physician. We invest in having dietitians as part of our teams because they play a vital role in providing appropriate, safe, cost-effective home nutrition support.”
The study included data from 16 Walgreens Infusion Services offices, with 2,500 enteral nutrition patients (who received their nutrition needs through a feeding tube) and 270 parenteral nutrition patients (who received their nutrition intravenously) on service during the study period. Interventions were performed by the Walgreens Infusion Services home nutrition support team, which includes nurses, pharmacists and dietitians who work closely with physicians to provide care to PN and EN patients.
This patient-centric multidisciplinary approach to care enabled the teams to quickly identify therapy complications and intervene to address them with the guidance of the physicians, Walgreens noted. There were 373 total interventions completed during the three-month study, including correcting over/underfeeding, preventing dehydration, reducing/eliminating diarrhea, managing hyperglycemia, managing electrolyte imbalances, transitioning patients from PN to oral eating, and starting patients on PN therapy in the home instead of in the hospital.
Patients are typically prescribed PN or EN because they cannot absorb an adequate amount of nutrients due to a health condition like cancer, a stroke or surgical complications. While both therapies can be administered in the hospital, about 40,000 PN patients and 344,000 EN patients each year receive their nutrition therapy at home, where they are more comfortable and can avoid the risk of exposure to hospital-acquired infections.
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