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Malnutrition: More Than Meets the Eye

Malnutrition and wound care often go together. Here’s why...

It’s no secret that good nutrition can be a powerful weapon in healing wounds (read more in our other posts: Top Four Nutrients for Wound Healing, and Nutrition for Wound Care).

But malnutrition and wounds often go together - especially in older and chronically ill patients. Up to half of older adults are at risk for malnutrition, and somewhere between 20-50% of patients are either malnourished or at risk for malnutrition when admitted to a hospital.

It can be a vicious cycle: chronic health conditions can lead to increased risk of malnutrition, which in turn leads to more complications, and more frequent falls. Wounds can’t heal properly when a patient doesn’t have the right building blocks in his or her system, and the entire immune response and healing process in the body is slowed dramatically.

Of course malnutrition is terrible for patients, but it’s also really hard on the entire healthcare system.

Readmissions go up, costs go up, and hospital stays are twice as long when malnutrition is a factor.

So what can we do, especially in our work as wound-care specialists?

  • Remember to always include nutrition as part of a holistic plan of care.

  • Check out some of the resources from ASPEN’s Malnutrition Awareness Week, including free webinars, online articles, and helpful guides.

  • Remember that malnutrition is about more than meets the eye. Fluid retention, weakness, tiredness, and loss of appetite can all be tell-tale signs.

  • Go in-depth for fifteen minutes of malnutrition info for healthcare providers with this YouTube video: Malnutrition Matters for Adult Patients, from ASPEN.


Skilled Wound Care is a mobile surgical practice committed to transforming the chronic wound care model in nursing facilities. Wound care experts make weekly bedside visits to patients in long-term care facilities, avoiding transfers to hospitals or clinics. Our expert physicians give patients the most up-to-date and effective wound treatments, and educate facility staff on how to help patients continue to heal quickly and effectively between visits. This model of collaborative care allows SWC’s physicians to improve patients’ lives and health outcomes, to empower nursing staff, and to raise public awareness. Skilled Wound Care, along with its nurse and nursing home partners, is working every day to positively transform traditional nursing home wound care.

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