Many patients experience nutrition deterioration throughout their hospital stay – even those whose nutritional status is adequate upon admission. Malnutrition is a debilitating and highly prevalent condition in the acute hospital setting. Local and international studies have reported malnutrition rates in hospital patients to be approximately 35 per cent, with 30-55 per cent of patients entering acute hospitals being at risk of malnutrition.1
What is malnutrition and its consequences?
Malnutrition is a broad term that can be used to describe any imbalance in nutrition; whether that’s considered over-nutrition, often seen in many developing countries, or under-nutrition, common in developing countries.
Malnutrition is also common in hospitals and residential care facilities even in developed countries, often due to a deficiency in dietary intake, increased requirements associated with a disease state, or from complications of an underlying illness such as poor absorption and excessive nutrient losses.
Malnutrition is associated with negative outcomes for patients, including higher infection and complication rates, increased muscle loss, impaired wound healing, longer length of hospital stays, and increased morbidity and mortality.
Not surprisingly, studies have shown that malnourished adult inpatients have a higher likelihood of hospital readmissions within 30 days than those who are well-nourished.2
Malnutrition has often been referred to as the “skeleton in the hospital closet” as it is often overlooked, undiagnosed and untreated. Most of the adverse effects on patients and the healthcare system can be prevented or improved through nutrition care – care that is essential during hospital stays to improve short-term treatment outcomes.
However, research has revealed that it is just as important, as part of effective discharge planning, to provide support, including meal support to patients who need them. Supporting patients with easy and convenient access to ready-made meal solutions can significantly impact both short-term recovery results and the long-term health of patients.
Supporting the transition from hospital to home
Individuals’ nutritional needs don’t stop once they’re discharged from the hospital. In fact, adequate food intake is critical for promoting continued recovery and independence at home. It is especially key for patients suffering from a chronic condition that puts them at risk for malnutrition. Patients with chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, or heart disease may require a low sugar, fat, sodium, or cholesterol diet.
Older adults who have been discharged from hospital do not always have guidance and follow-up on how to get proper nutrition. Even if the patient doesn’t come home with a special diet, it’s especially important to pay attention to nutrition at this time. With the right nutrition, healing, rehabilitation, and recovery can happen faster, decreasing the chance of readmission to hospital.
Providing patients with ready-made meal solutions post discharge to support their transition from hospital to home are equally important to individuals who cannot prepare meals for themselves, whose caregivers don’t know how to fulfill their nutritional needs, and for those who are food insecure. Furthermore, many times a newly discharged patient returns home to an empty refrigerator and empty cupboards, consequentially having no healthy food to help the body regenerate after the hospital stay.
Studies have shown that the convenience of ready-made, home-delivered meals can increase both diet quality and nutrient intake.3
This offers significant advantages to both the patient and the health service in terms of improved nutritional outcomes and decreased hospital readmissions.
The Good Meal Company
At The Good Meal Company, we provide ready-made meal solutions and customer service support, designed to help hospitals, community care and NDIS providers, nursing and allied health teams provide their patients and clients with expedited nutrition support at the start of their recovery, when time is of the essence, to support healing and reduce hospital readmissions.
Under the Good Meal Company brand, SPC Care manufactures and delivers a comprehensive range of over 80 pre-prepared meals. These meals are designed to support the nutritional needs of patients and cater to the diverse cultural cuisine preferences. We understand that everyone is different, so we provide a range of meals designed to meet the needs of consumers with special dietary requirements such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, low GI, and texture modified (level 5 – minced and moist). Carefully developed, our meals are hand prepared and snap frozen to lock in their nutrition and flavour. All meals are manufactured at our state-of-the-art production facility in Sydney.
How to order?
- Jump online (www.goodmeal.com.au), browse and select your meals. Add 10+ meals to your cart for the week ahead and receive free delivery. No long-term contract is required.
- Order and pay. Check out online or simply call our friendly team (1800 155 255) to place your order.
- Meals delivered. The delicious meals will be delivered direct to the home or nominated address on the date and time most suitable for you.
The Good Meal Company provides a dedicated range of pre-prepared, snap frozen meals to healthcare institutions and individuals being cared for at home. Meals are delivered to the patients’ home or nominated address to help them stay healthy throughout their recovery. Delivery is available throughout most states and territories in Australia.
1. Barker LA, Gout BS, Crowe TC. Hospital Malnutrition: Prevalence, Identification and Impact on Patients and the Healthcare System. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Feb; 8(2): 514–527.
2. Lengfelder L, Mahlke S, Moore L, Zhang X et al. Prevalence and impact of malnutrition on length of stay, readmission, and discharge destination. JPEN. 2022 Aug; 46(6): 1335-1342.
3. Zhu H, An R. Impact of home-delivered meal programs on diet and nutrition among older adults: A review. Nutr Health. 2013 Apr; 22(2): 89-103.
For information on the comprehensive range of ready-made meals available, please visit www.goodmeal.com.au or contact Sarah Donnelly (National Account Manager) on 0490 904 258 for more information.