Organizational Strategies to Prevent Unintentional Weight Loss
May 24, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
Evidence-based organizational strategies to prevent unintended weight loss can help ensure that clinical interventions in individual residents’ care plans are implemented and monitored and could have a greater impact on the health of many residents, write the authors of a May 15, 2013, Annals of Long-Term Carearticle. Unintentional weight loss is linked to higher morbidity, higher mortality, and lower quality of life. It is commonly due to malnourishment, which encompasses starvation, cachexia, and sarcopenia and affects an estimated 35% to 85% of nursing home residents. The article discusses six categories of evidence-based organizational strategies that were identified by one of the authors in a pilot study. Staffing strategies include hiring nurses with advanced degrees, increasing time spent on direct care, and hiring dining assistants. Care planning strategies include individualizing residents’ diets, using standardized protocols, and having periodic care conferences.