ASPEN Praises Ohio for Addressing Malnutrition in Older Adults


ASPEN Praises Ohio for Addressing Malnutrition in Older Adults

New Bill Takes Step to Prevent the Harmful, Costly Impacts of Disease-Related Malnutrition

May 6, 2016, Silver Spring, MD –
The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), an organization dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of clinical nutrition and metabolism, commends the Ohio Senate for ratifying a Bill addressing the impact of malnutrition on patient care and acknowledging its importance as a serious safety issue. The Bill, SB245, supports the formation of a Malnutrition Prevention Commission to study and reduce the incidence of this harmful and costly condition among older adults.

“Older adults are particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of disease-related malnutrition,” said Debra BenAvram, ASPEN CEO. “With the passage of SB245, Ohio is on track to create an effective strategy for prevention of malnutrition, and its associated complications, within this population. We hope other states follow suit.”

SB245, sponsored by Senator Gayle Manning, lays out key action items, which will subsequently be presented to the Governor, intended to culminate in a plan to reduce the incidence of malnutrition among older adults. The Commission will consist of department directors and committee chairpersons from the House and Senate as well as certified clinicians, nurses, and dietitians who will be appointed by the Governor ensuring that crucial stakeholders are represented. 
In a September 2015 article in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, ASPEN called for the establishment of a national goal in the United States, where malnutrition continues to be under-diagnosed. It is estimated that at least one third of patients are malnourished upon admission to the hospital. If left untreated, approximately two thirds of those patients will experience a further decline in their nutrition status during their hospitalization. Of particular concern among older adults, symptoms of disease-related malnutrition can mirror what people see as the “normal” signs of aging such as unplanned weight loss, loss of appetite, feeling weak or tired and the ability to eat only a small amount of food.

The condition is also associated with unfavorable outcomes including higher infection rates, poor wound healing, longer lengths of stay, and higher frequency of readmission. In addition to the human cost, there is a significant economic cost – as much as $156.7 billion per year.

“One of ASPEN’s primary goals is mobilizing health care stakeholders to implement effective, team-based care processes that monitor and improve the nutrition care of hospitalized patients,” said the organization’s president, Dr. Gordon Sacks, PharmD, BCNSP, FCCP. “We are so pleased to see Ohio placing a priority on malnutrition when caring for a vulnerable population.”

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The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, ASPEN is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,500 members from around the world, ASPEN is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about ASPEN, please visit

Juliet Glassroth