Concurrent Session

4:15-5:15 PM | CEUs: 1

Speakers: Christine Hartney, MS, RDN, FAND (RUSH University Medical Center) | Erica Block MS, RDN (RUSH University Medical Center)

Healthcare foodservice directors and culinary teams are challenged to meet medical nutrition therapy diet restrictions and medical provider expectations on appropriate foods to serve patients. Malnutrition diagnosis by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists is now a part of standard patient care. Patient acuity has increased along with the prevalence of malnutrition, and healthcare foodservice leaders need to know the criteria used to diagnose malnutrition to help guide patient menu item development. The increased prevalence of malnutrition calls into question if traditional diet restrictions are appropriate for any health care setting. Some diet restrictions and modifications are necessary, but some liberalization is an easy way to improve oral intake. Our experience shows that hospitalized patients on modified diets eat only 40-50% of what is sent. We will explore the possibility that more visually appealing and flavorful comfort foods lead to increased oral intake. Diet liberalization is an easy, cost-efficient nutrition intervention that can increase collaboration between culinary teams and dietitians, help combat malnutrition, and enhance the patient experience.

Attendees will be able to:

  • — Identify criteria used to diagnose malnutrition in hospitalized patients.
  • — Justify liberalization of diet restrictions to healthcare providers and regulatory agencies.
  • — Develop guidelines to evaluate food item recipes for inclusion on a patient menu.