Date of Conferral
James E. Rohrer
Improving the nutritional status of hospitalized patients has been shown to reduce length of stay (LOS), hospital costs, readmission rates, complication rates, and mortality. Provision of nutrient-rich, liquid, oral nutrition supplements (ONS) is one approach to improving nutritional status. ONS use has been associated with improved outcomes among patients with diagnoses of orthopedic injuries and pressure ulcers, mainly using prospective designs among elderly and/or malnourished patients. Less information is available for other diagnoses, and no analysis of the effects of ONS could be found that considered the epidemiological triad of person, place, and time. This study used a quantitative, retrospective design to examine whether routine ONS use was associated with hospital length of stay (LOS) among 570 adult inpatients at a regional medical center diagnosed with heart failure, adjusting for significant personal, locational, and time variables. It was unique in the inclusion of epidemiological triad variables. Using multiple logistic regression to control for covariates, ONS use was associated with higher LOS in this sample (odds ratio=2.43). High LOS was also associated with higher Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) values, discharge destination, White ethnicity, female gender, and hospital room location. This study is expected to contribute to positive social change by helping inform hospital staff on factors affecting patient outcomes and LOS, and highlighting the need for continued research on interventions to improve care in hospitals.