AUSTIN, Texas — Option Care’s local dietitian-led Nutrition Support Team improves the care of patients receiving nutrition therapy at home and saves millions in costs by preventing hospitalization, according to a study being presented at the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) Clinical Nutrition Week meeting today in Austin.
The study tracked the times that Option Care clinicians proactively identified one of four types of therapy complications for patients receiving home parenteral (intravenous) nutrition (HPN) and home enteral (through a feeding tube) nutrition (HEN). In each case, the team worked with the patient’s physician to correct the issue.
“Our findings demonstrate that Option Care‘s unique tools and processes help our clinicians detect complications early and intervene before they become bigger problems and lead to hospitalization,” Noreen Luszcz, RD, MBA, CNSC, Nutrition Program Director for Option Care. “Even though we analyzed only a few of the typical clinical interventions performed over a six-month period, we found significant benefits to our high-touch clinical support.”
The study includes data collected by 63 Option Care dietitians on 124 HPN and 126 HEN patients between Feb. 1 and July 31, 2015. Following Option Care’s close monitoring system to identify issues and react proactively, the teams performed 390 clinical interventions. During that time period, half of HPN patients were hospitalized at least once (20 percent nutrition-related, 12 patients) and 33 percent of HEN patients were hospitalized at least once (9 percent nutrition-related, 4 patients). However, the number of nutrition-related hospitalizations would have been significantly higher without close monitoring by the multidisciplinary team and proactive response, researchers note. They estimated that the interventions resulted in 957 hospital days avoided and therefore more than $1.9 million in savings.
The study tracked when the clinicians intervened to:
- Manage electrolyte imbalance (levels of chemicals that help with muscle and other vital body functions)
- Manage hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, which can cause a variety of symptoms, including weakness and confusion)
- Prevent dehydration (which can cause seizures, altered mental status and kidney impairment)
- Reduce or eliminate diarrhea (which can lead to dehydration)
“Many of these patients have complicated conditions and the nutrition therapies they receive are increasingly complex,” said Luszcz. “We’ve worked tirelessly to develop effective ways of closely monitoring them to ensure complications are identified early and remedied quickly.”
Option Care’s Nutrition Support Program follows a multidisciplinary team approach to care including infusion nurses, pharmacists, and dietitians certified in nutrition support who work closely with physicians to provide quality care to HPN and HEN patients. The program includes a registered dietitian at every one of its 92 infusion pharmacies.
Patients are prescribed HPN or HEN because they cannot meet their nutrition needs orally due to conditions such as cancer, stroke, gastrointestinal disease, or surgical complications. Both therapies can be temporarily administered in the hospital, however, about 40,000 HPN patients and 344,000 HEN patients annually receive their nutrition therapy safely and with less cost at home avoiding the risk of exposure to hospital-acquired infections, returning to work, and living active lives. Although some people receive these therapies short-term many are on for a longer period and some lifelong.
About Option Care
Option Care Enterprises, Inc., offers clinical care provided by specially trained infusion nurses, pharmacists, and dietitians who treat patients with a wide range of acute, chronic, and rare conditions. As one of the nation’s largest providers of home and alternate treatment site infusion services, Option Care has 92 infusion pharmacies and 110 alternate treatment sites across the country. Learn more at www.OptionCare.com.
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