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Targeting nutrition feeds better patient outcomes

12 Feb 2020

 

Meet Eugenie Hendriksen, the dietitian on Blue Mountains Hospital’s East Wing ward who’s helping patients to go home healthier, sooner and with a reduced chance of readmission.

Every day Blue Mountains Hospital sees patients admitted for a wide range of ailments, and a high proportion of them also arrive with nutrition problems that can impact on their overall health and recovery.

As a full-time Dietitian, Eugenie is integrated as part of a clinical care team that is targeting patients’ nutrition to achieve better health outcomes.

“It’s a brand-new role off the back of a research project,” says Eugenie.

“We found that some patients, in particular the elderly, had pre-existing nutritional issues that could increase their length of stay.”

A three-month trial involved changes to the existing screening process for malnutrition as well as increasing patients’ early access to a dietitian.

As a result, the hospital saw almost 150 additional patients receiving nutritional support such as high protein supplements or feeding assistance.

Over the course of a year it is estimated that an extra 500 patients will benefit from the changes to practice.

By providing additional patients with nutrition interventions in a more timely and comprehensive manner they’re more likely to go home sooner and stay out of hospital.

To improve continuity of care, Eugenie also works in a follow up clinic where she can continue to track her patients’ nutrition even after they have been discharged.

“I like working here because I like helping people,” says Eugenie. “I really get to know my patients and I’m able to see them change for the better.”