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BackgroundMalnutrition among skilled nursing facility (SNF) patients can lead to hospital readmissions and multiple complications.PurposeTo evaluate the effect of an existing malnutrition screening and management program on prealbumin levels of patients in skilled nursing facilities.MethodsA retrospective design was used to evaluate baseline admission data including a prealbumin level. Patients with malnutrition received an oral protein supplement according to protocol. A comparison prealbumin level was obtained at 30 days.ResultsNearly half of the patients were severely malnourished on admission. Patients receiving the prescribed protocol had significantly increased prealbumin levels at 30 days than those patients that did not receive the protocol as prescribed.ConclusionA prealbumin level upon admission at a SNF could represent a reliable tool to evaluate malnutrition. Initiation of an early malnutrition screening and protein supplement program in this setting is essential to identifying and treating at-risk patients before complications occur.
Journal: Applied Nursing Research - Volume 31, August 2016, Pages 29–33