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Improving hospital patients’ nutrition: New technologies and innovations

Today 20–50% of hospital patients are affected by malnutrition, closely linked to poor patient outcomes and high costs. Dietary intake monitoring can help to prevent or correct malnutrition, but the busy working schedule of hospital staff, and patients’ sometimes poor recollection of what they ate in hospital, are counterproductive to an effective system.

The very promising results of putting the task – as well as the responsibility – of intake tracking squarely in the patient’s hands, and supporting this with the right, easy-to-adopt and easy-to-use technology, are described in the work of Dr Shelley Roberts and her team of researchers.

Delegate are proud to have been supporting Dr Shelley Roberts on this important topic for the last 4 years and are thrilled to be sponsoring the upcoming “Improving hospital patients’ nutrition: New technologies and innovations” Webinar on 6th May 2021 @ 4pm EST, 1 CEU will be awarded

Register for our Webinar now

Engaging hospital patients in their nutrition care using technology:  the NUTRI-TEC study

In hospital, patients with (or at risk of) malnutrition are referred to dietitians for nutrition care. Dietitians apply nutrition interventions to help prevent the poor patient outcomes and high costs associated with malnutrition, which affects 20–50% of hospital patients. The effect of nutrition care is assessed by monitoring patient dietary intakes in relation to their nutrition requirements. However, collecting dietary intake data is difficult in busy hospital environments; patients may struggle to recall their food intake, or staff may lack the time to record intakes at mealtimes. Furthermore, the success of nutrition interventions often depends on patients’ understanding of and adherence to dietary prescriptions.

Our team of researchers and clinicians have worked with Delegate to develop an innovative, technology-based intervention that allows patients to actively participate in their own nutrition care, streamlining processes for hospital staff and increasing patient adherence to nutrition care. The intervention, NUTRI-TEC, involves patient-led dietary intake tracking and nutritional goal setting via the Delegate foodservice portal, accessed through patient bedside computer screens at our hospital. It was rigorously developed in a four-phase program of research, including a literature review, iterative development and evaluation cycle, usability testing and interviews with hospital patients and staff, and a feasibility study that tested the intervention with real hospital patients. NUTRI-TEC is underpinned by theories (of patient participation in care, self-efficacy and technology acceptance) and research evidence; and had significant end-user input from hospital patients and staff.

 

Conclusion

Our feasibility work shows that NUTRI-TEC is likely to improve dietary intakes and promote patient engagement in nutrition care, while being acceptable to patients and staff. Further work will test its clinical effectiveness in a randomised controlled trial.

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The figure below describes the intervention’s components and how it works in practice alongside usual care.

 

Meet Dr Shelley Roberts

Dr Shelley Roberts is an Allied Health Research Fellow and Accredited Practicing Dietitian working in a conjoint research position between Griffith University and Gold Coast Health. Her research focuses on improving nutritionamong hospitalized patients, with interests in patient participation in care, health information technology, and knowledge translation. Since 2016, Dr Roberts has led a program of research to develop, implement and evaluate a technology-based intervention that allows patients to actively participate in their nutrition care at the hospital bedside, through patient-led dietary intake tracking and nutritional goal setting and monitoring. This work aims to improve the nutrition intakes and statuses of hospitalized patients, in order to improve outcomes for patients and hospitals.

To hear all the details and ask your questions, come join Shelley on the Delegate sponsored “Improving hospital patients’ nutrition: New technologies and innovations” Webinar.