Natural Health News — Using food supplements in care homes and the wider community could equate to significant savings in public spending on health, according to a review of high quality trials on supplement use.
The international research team, which included scientists from the UK, Italy and Spain, note while the clinical benefits of using standard oral nutritional supplements in community and care homes were well documented – the economic viability of translating this into public health policy remained unclear.
The team reviewed 19 international papers– which included dietary interventions in all non-hospital settings with individuals of all ages over one year – most showed supplement use was cost-effective.
» A recent international analysis has found that supplement use not only improved quality of life, but reduced infections, reduced minor post-operative complications and reduced falls. It also reduced hospitalisation significantly by about 16.5%.
» The researchers propose that these benefits meant that appropriate supplement use could also translate into savings on public health spending.
Prevention cheaper than cure?
“This review of studies, mainly of randomised controlled clinical trials, suggests that the use of standard ONS [oral nutritional supplements] in the community, with or without additional use in hospital, produces an overall net cost saving favouring the ONS group, or a near neutral balance,” wrote the researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK, Trinity College in Ireland, Sapienza University in Italy and Charité Medical University in Germany.
Published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, the review found evidence that supplements improved quality of life, reduced infections, reduced minor post-operative complications and reduced falls. It also reduced hospitalisation significantly by about 16.5%.
The researchers conclude: “There is a need to embed appropriate nutritional support with ONS into routine clinical practice, and to undertake more high quality studies to further define the patient groups likely to benefit from appropriate amount and duration of ONS administration in different care settings.”
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