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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


GALLEGOS ESPINOSA, Sylvia; NICOLALDE CIFUENTES, Marcelo  and  SANTANA PORBEN, Sergio. State of food and nutritional care in public hospitals of Ecuador. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2015, vol.31, n.1, pp.443-448. ISSN 1699-5198.

Rationale: The ELAN Ecuadorian Study of Hospital Malnutrition returned a malnutrition rate of 37.1% in public hospitals of Ecuador [Gallegos Espinosa S, Nicolalde Cifuentes M, Santana Porbén S; para el Grupo Ecuatoriano de Estudio de la Desnutrición Hospitalaria. State of malnutrition in hospitals of Ecuador. Nutr Hosp (España) 2014;30:425-35]. Hospital malnutrition could be the result of institutional cultural practices affecting the patient’s nutritional status. Objectives: To present the current state of food and nutritional care provided to patients assisted in public hospitals of Ecuador. Material and Method: The state of food and nutritional care provided to 5,355 patients assisted in 36 hospitals of 23 provinces of the country was documented by means of the Hospital Nutrition Survey (HNS), conducted as part of the ELAN Study. HNS recorded the completion of nutritional assessment exercises, the use of food-bymouth, fasting, use of oral nutritional supplements, and implementation and conduction of Artificial nutritional schemes (Enteral/Parenteral); respectively. Results: Less than 0.1% of clinical charts had a diagnosis of malnutrition included in the list of the patient’s health problems. Less than half of the patients had been measured and weighted on admission. Serum Albumin values and Total Lymphocytes Counts were annotated on admission in only 13.5% and 59.2% of the instances, respectively. Current weight value was registered in only 59.4% of the patients with length of stay3 15 days. An oral nutritional supplement was prescribed in just 3.5% of non-malnourished patients in which significant metabolic stress and/or reduced food intakes concurred. Although up to 10 different indications for use of Artificial nutrition were identified in the sample study, any of these techniques was administered to just 2.5% (median of observed percentages; range: 1.3 - 11.9%) of surveyed patients. Conclusions: Currently, nutritional status of hospitalized patient is not included within therapeutic goals, nutritional assessment exercises are incomplete, and Artificial nutrition is not considered a therapeutic option. From these findings it can only be concluded that the nutritionist still has no place within medical care teams. Adoption of required measures in order to introduce "Food and Nutrition Good Practices" into the medical care in public hospitals of Ecuador is urgently needed.

Keywords : Hospital malnutrition; Length of stay; Epidemiology; Quality of services; Artificial nutrition.

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