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Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili Adds to Literature on Malnutrition in Hospitalized Patients

December 19, 2013

Rose-Ann DiMaria-Ghalili Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, an associate professor in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Department, recently published three journal articles.

The first article was titled, “Survey of Nurses’ Nutrition Screening and Assessment Practices in Hospitalized Patients,” published in Med/Surg Nursing. DiMaria-Ghalili executed a survey to better understand the current practices for hospital nutrition screening, assessment, communication and malnutrition diagnostic coding. With resources such as The Academy of Medical/Surgical Nurses, The Society of Hospital Medicine, and The American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), a survey was conducted with the goal of better understanding how malnutrition is handled in hospitals, to identify who conducts malnutrition-based activities, and to discover what tools are used in those activities. The survey was collected using the online SurveyMonkey tool, and included questions about the demographic characteristics of the respondents, structural indicators related to nutrition, processes related to nutrition screening, nutrition assessment, and malnutrition diagnosis and coding. DiMaria-Ghalili concluded that, “While the respondents to this survey report that many nurses participate in nutrition screening and assessment, it is often not clear about the validity of the screening and assessment tools used.” 

The second article she published, “American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Research Agenda” appeared in The Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. The article serves as an overview of the research goals for the The American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) organization, a 5,500 member-strong interdisciplinary community comprised of a wide array of different types of clinicians and healthcare professionals. One of A.S.P.E.N.’s main areas of research has been on the increasing issue of malnutrition among hospitalized patients. Although great advancements in malnutrition research have transpired recently, A.S.P.E.N. recognizes that more work needs to be done. One of their agenda items involves “identification of the most effective strategies to teach current and future clinicians standard approaches to identifying and diagnosing malnutrition.” Another future research goal is to “validate both quantitative and qualitative diagnostic approaches in malnutrition assessment.” Although serum concentrations of several visceral proteins (e.g, serum albumin level and transthyretin) have been used as surrogate markers of nutrition status, recent evidence has demonstrated that these measures are neither sensitive nor specific to nutrition response, especially in patients with acute inflammation or liver and renal disease. 

DiMaria-Ghalili also published a third article, “Malnutrition Diagnoses in Hospitalized Patients: United States, 2010,” in The Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. Malnutrition is becoming an increasingly national issue. The objective of this study was “to define the prevalence of malnutrition diagnoses among patients discharged from U.S hospitals and to compare and contrast demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with their counterparts who do not have a diagnosis of malnutrition.”  

DiMaria-Ghalili is an active member of A.S.P.E.N, and will continue to research innovative ways to confront the issue of malnutrition in vulnerable populations.