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Nutrition: Management of Nutrition Post-Discharge

​What is Malnutrition?

This brochure focuses on the undernutrition aspect of malnutrition, which is a condition caused by inadequate intake of nutrients. Poor appetite or increased nutritional requirements due to medical conditions, can result in inadequate nutritional intake.

Who is at Risk?

Individuals with poor oral intake as a result of:

  • Reduced in appetite
  • Early satiety (feeling full after only a small amount of food) from acute or chronic diseases
  • Experiencing change in taste from medications or treatment,
  • Nutrition related symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea)
  • Swallowing or chewing problems
  • Cognitive or mood issues such as dementia

Individuals with increased nutritional requirements due to medical conditions such as:

  • Cancer, sepsis, trauma, or post major surgeries

What are Some Possible Consequences of Malnutrition?

  • Loss of weight and muscle mass
  • Reduced functional status
  • Poor immunity
  • Poor wound healing
  • Higher risks of complications post-surgery
  • Longer recovery times from illnesses

What Should I do After I am Discharged?

  • During admission, you or your loved one may have tried some dietary strategies, including consuming oral nutrition supplements to maximise your/his/her nutrition intake.
  • Upon discharge, it is important to continue ensuring adequate nutrition to help with recovery and to avoid re-admissions to the hospital.
  • Oral nutrition supplements (ONS) are beverages used by individuals who are unable to meet their nutritional requirements through oral diet alone.
  • The recommendation to continue or discontinue the ONS will depend on how much you are able to eat:
    - If you are only able to eat less than ½ the usual amount at meals, top up each meal with ________________________________.
    If your appetite gradually improves back to normal, you may discontinue ONS.
    - If you are able to eat more than ½ the usual amount at meals most of the time, you may discontinue ONS.
  • ONS can also be flavoured with tea / coffee / Milo, or added to foods oats, or blended with fruits) for some variety. They can be taken hot or cold depending on personal preference.
  • Continue to monitor your weight and oral intake over the next month.

What are Other Dietary Strategies You can do to Maximise Your Nutrition Intake?

1. Aim to have small, frequent meals throughout the day

  • Have six small meals instead of the usual three large meals
  • Eat more when your appetite is good e.g. some people eat better in the early morning

2. Make every mouth of food count

  • Choose high energy foods and drinks e.g. cream-filled biscuits, cakes, desserts or ice cream
  • Try to include fruit juices, 3-in-1 cereals, high protein drinks
    such as full cream milk and yoghurt drinks between meals

3. Fortify your foods to improve the nutritional quality of your food

  • Add sesame oil, crack an egg or some braised peanuts into your porridge
  • Put a thicker layer of spread onto bread and biscuits

4. Enjoy your meals and eat a variety of food

  • Vary your meals so eating does not become a chore
  • Eat with your family or friends so that meal times are enjoyable occasions

When Should You Consider Seeing a Dietitian?

  • You have unintentional weight loss of 5% or more of your weight in 1 month      
  • The amount of food you are eating is getting lesser and you are unable to take the recommended amount of ONS

If you have at least 1 of the above, it is recommended that you consult with a dietitian for a more detailed assessment.

A dietitian can help to:

  • Evaluate your current eating habits and assess your specific dietary needs for your health conditions.
  • Provide personalised advice and a nutrition plan that meets your nutritional needs and goals
  • Monitor and re-evaluate your nutritional progress at regular intervals to assess if nutritional goals have been met

Where can I get More Information?

To find a dietitian, please call 6357 8322 for appointment. You will need to obtain a referral from your doctor for a dietitian consultation.

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2020/10/30
2020/12/02
Last Updated on