American Hospital Association
Health Research & Educational Trust



It is estimated that at least one third of patients in developed countries are malnourished upon admission to the hospital (Somanchi, 2011) and, if not address, approximately two thirds of those patients will experience a further decline in their nutrition status during their hospitalization (Tappenden, 2013). Despite a consensus statement by the board of directions of the American Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) which defined the problem and urged hospitals to monitor and ensure hospitalized patients’ nutritional needs are optimally met, malnutrition continues to be underdiagnosed in many hospitals (Corkins, 2010).

Additionally, approximately one this of the patients who are not malnourished on admissions will become malnourished while hospitals (Braunschweig, 2000). Furthermore, malnutrition also significantly influences hospital readmissions rates. In a large study at a 550-bed academic medical center, with 30 day readmission rate of 17 percent, weight loss was found to be a significant comorbidity that increased the risk of readmission (Allaudeen, 2011). Research findings are consistent with the concept of malnutrition contributing to “post-hospital syndrome” which is defined as “an acquired, transient period of vulnerability,” which together with other facts can dramatically increase the risk of 30 day readmission (Krumholz, 2013).

Lastly, patients with a malnutrition diagnosis had hospital costs and length of stay three times higher than those without this diagnosis (Corkins, 2010). Patients who received high quality nutritional care (defined as early intervention or frequent use of nutritional services) averaged 2.2 days shorter length of stay than patients who received medium or low quality nutritional services (defined as late or no intervention (Barker, 2011).


20 percent reduction from the incidence of harm from malnutrition by 2019.

Partnership for Patients (PfP) Goal