The benefits of Medical Nutrition Therapy
Jill K. Fulk, R.D., L.D.
Registered and Licensed Dietitian
If you are interested in saving money and living a healthier lifestyle (and who isn't?) Medical Nutrition Therapy can help.
Medical Nutrition Therapy is a cost-effective and medically necessary part of the comprehensive services we offer at MedCentral. It can improve a person's overall health and quality of life, effectively treat and manage disease conditions, reduce complications of disease and decrease or eliminate the need for prescription drugs.
Studies report a health care savings of three to ten dollars for every dollar spent on Medical Nutrition Therapy. It includes the assessment of a person's nutrition status by a Registered Dietitian followed by appropriate therapy, such as:
- Counseling and education
- Diet modification
- Disease self-management skills training
- Administration of special therapies, such as medical foods, tube feedings, and intravenous nutrition
Nutrition services provided at MedCentral include:
Hospital Care: Nutrition therapy for patients in the hospital, including screening, assessment, diet modification, counseling and specialized nutrition therapies as mentioned above. Nutrition assessment has been shown to reduce admission rates by 4 percent and decrease costs by about $6 million during the first year of a nutrition assessment program. Studies indicate that more than 50 percent of patients entering a hospital are malnourished or at risk for malnutrition, with 30 percent showing improvement after nutrition therapy.
Outpatient Counseling: Individualized guidance on food selection and meal preparation for disease management and prevention of complications. Clients get the tools they need to take charge of their nutrition health and overall well-being. The more than $33 billion spent each year on diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke are attributed to poor nutrition. About 33 percent (about 800,000) of all U.S. deaths each year are a result of behaviors such as poor eating habits.
Home Care and Hospice: Nutrition services similar to those provided in the hospital, yet provided in the home to the client and caregivers based on their needs. Inadequate nutrition in home care can lead to skin breakdown and wounds, or impede the healing process of wounds. The incidence of wounds in home care is 7-12 percent, and annual costs for wound care treatment are estimated to be $5 billion to $8.5 billion. Providing patients and caregivers with guidance for adequate nutrition at home can decrease the incidence of wounds and health care costs.
Community Service: Nutrition presentations to groups on a wide range of topics, as well as participation in health fairs, support groups and other community events. Over the past 20 years, research has clearly shown the benefit of nutrition on exercise performance. Nutrition therapy for community sports teams can help athletes select food, fluids and supplements and choose their mealtimes for optimal health and performance.
Diabetes Education: Registered Dietitians work closely with Registered Nurses to provide comprehensive care for successful self-management of diabetes. The program includes education about self-monitoring of blood glucose, diet and exercise, medications, motivation and behavior modification. Nutrition therapy is an essential component of treatment and prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research shows that people with heart disease and diabetes who receive Medical Nutrition Therapy regularly have a much better chance of managing their disease. They require fewer medications, hospitalizations and surgeries and have fewer complications.
If you would like to benefit from nutrition therapy, ask your doctor for a referral to a Registered Dietitian. For more information, call 419-520-2550.