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Study: Use of Nutritional Supplements in Pediatric Inpatients Decreases Hospital Stay and Costs

Nutritional support is critical for pediatric management, authors say (October 11)

A new study has found that the use of oral nutritional supplements provided to pediatric patients during hospitalization was associated with a decrease in length of stay of 14.8% and a decrease in hospital-stay costs of $1,768 per patient.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Precision Health Economics, and supported by Abbott Laboratories, will be presented this weekend at the 2013 North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The 11-year retrospective study (2000 to 2010) used the Premier Research Database, which contains information on more than half a million hospitalized pediatric patients 2 to 8 years of age.

The researchers compared hospital stays during which oral nutritional supplements were provided with similar hospital stays that did not provide these supplements. The difference in the two groups between the length of hospital stay and the cost of treatment were measured. The length of stay was defined as the number of days of direct patient care (minimum of 1 day) from admission to discharge. The hospital-stay cost was defined as the actual costs to treat the patient during hospitalization.

“Malnutrition in children is associated with poor health outcomes, and this is especially important in the hospitalized child,” said Maria Mascarenhas, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Nutritional support is a critical component of the clinical management of pediatric inpatients, but it is often overlooked due to other medical issues.”

Source: Abbott Laboratories; October 11, 2013.

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