Meeting appropriate nutritional demands in the inpatient setting is a fundamental aspect of optimal patient care. Optimizing nutrition delivery and preventing malnutrition can have a significant positive effect on clinical outcomes and costs of care. Despite extensive research, many questions remain regarding the delivery of nutrients to hospitalized patients, especially in the critically ill. Recent advances have been made over the past decade, and landmark studies have yielded an end to many controversial topics, such as the broad utilization of immunonutrition. However, there are still many questions that remain unanswered, for example how do we objectively define malnutrition? Cutting edge research in the areas of morphomics and metabolomics are raising new questions which are poised to revolutionize how we will answer today’s questions. In this review, we summarize the historical pedagogy underlying nutritional practice alongside contemporary evidence supporting current practice guidelines. Furthermore, we identify and explore key barriers preventing the rapid identification and treatment of malnutrition. We introduce two emerging technologies foremost in nutritional research that may eventually disrupt current barriers. And finally, we discuss key populations at specifically high risk for the development of malnutrition.
Christopher J. Tignanelli, Jill Cherry–Bukowiec