Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) aged ≥65 years who received nutrition treatment had reduced lengths of stay, hospital costs, and probability of readmission within 30-days, according to results of a study published in CHEST.

The study examined Medicare patients who were hospitalized for COPD and found that when these patients received nutrition treatment in the hospital, it reduced their length of stay by 1.88 days (21.5%) and total hospital costs by $1,570 (12.5%) on average vs. those who did not receive nutrition treatment. Also, there was a 13.1% decrease in the chances of readmission within 30 days in patients who received nutrition treatment.

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Study authors concluded that screening elderly patients in the hospital for malnutrition risk and providing cost-effective treatment can lead to favorable outcomes. Medicare is set to raise its maximum penalty this year for hospitals that have too many readmissions within 30 days. Starting in 2015, Medicare will examine readmissions of total hip and knee replacements and patients with COPD.

The study was supported by Abbott.

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