Changes in indicators of nutritional status during hospitalization

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Virginia Tech

The medical records of 263 patients hospitalized between 14 and 28 days in a 405-bed, acute care, community hospital were reviewed before 100 records were obtained with complete data to determine percent recommended body weight (RBW), serum albumin, total lymphocyte count (TLC), and hematocrit on admission and near discharge. Serum albumin and hematocrit were the only indicators that changed significantly during hospitalization, with both decreasing from admission to discharge. Considering the four indicators together, changes in nutritional status of the patients during hospitalization were determined. Eighty three patients were found to be at least at moderate potential for nutritional risk on admission, and 95 were found to be at least at moderate potential for nutritional risk near discharge. No patients who were judged to be potentially at severe nutritional risk on admission improved their nutritional status during hospitalization. Paired comparisons of the four parameters indicated that hematocrit and serum albumin seemed to be measuring changes in potential nutritional status more similarly than any other pair of assessment indicators.

Sixty-three of the patients did not receive what was judged to be adequate kilocalories and protein during hospitalization. Twelve of these patients were found to have an increase in potential nutritional risk status.

Of the 163 medical records that were reviewed but did not have all indicators recorded, height was most often missing on admission, and weight and serum albumin were most often missing near discharge.