Recently a comentary published on the Journal of the American Dietetic Association adressed the issue of transitional care and opportunities for dietitians. Transitional care is a very popular term nowadays and -according to the American Geriatrics Society- transitional care is defined “as a set of actions designed to ensure the coordination and continuity of health care as patients transfer between different locations or different levels of care within the same location. Representative locations include (but are not limited to) hospitals, sub-acute and post-acute nursing facilities, the patient's home, primary and specialty care offices, and long-term care facilities.”
Most places have physician-led programs to coordinate transitional care. Nurses or social workers also have a role. But…what about dietitians? Is nutrition in the transitional care not that important?
Dietitians, the nutrition experts, have a role (and opportunity) here to be an active participant of the discharging-planning process. What I want to highlight from this article is the importance of the systematic screening that should be done at discharge. Yes, nutrition screening not only done at admission but also at discharge. Especially older adults may have lots of barriers to eat well at discharge. Who is going to prepare meals? Can he or she eat alone or assistance is needed? Does the patient understand the role of nutrition in recovery? Nutrition screening at discharge is a new concept that can improve recovery, provide timely nutrition services and prevent complications and readmission. This, will ultimately save money with little effort.
This is one way to show how nutrition is an essential part of health promotion and disease prevention with a potential health care cost reduction. Don't you think?
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