Study: Nutrition Supplement Reduces Readmissions, Cost, Length of Stay

Oral nutrition supplements are associated with decreases in length of stay and readmissions for Medicare patients aged 65 and over, according to research presented at the 35th annual meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making.


The study analyzed 11 years of data on hospitalized Medicare patients, half of whom had received an oral nutrition supplement, usually a liquid food providing additional calories, energy and nutrients.

Oral nutrition supplement administration resulted in:

  • An 8.4 percent readmission risk reduction for patients with any diagnosis, a 10.1 percent readmission risk reduction for congestive heart failure patients and a 12 percent readmission risk reduction for heart attack patients.
  • A 16 percent (1.65 day) decrease in average length of stay.
  • A 15.8 percent ($3,079) decrease in average costs per episode.

The study concluded nutrition supplements may be a cost-effective way to improve quality of care and avoid readmissions penalties under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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