The cheap secret that can keep you out of the hospital

So you remember that ridiculous new policy I told you about on Monday? Well, I hope those fools at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are reading this. Because maybe, just maybe, they’ll realize what a gigantic mistake they’re making.

A recent study has shown that providing patients with nutritional supplements may significantly reduce the length of their hospital stays and lower hospitalization costs.

This analysis looked at over 1 million adult hospitalizations. And ultimately, patients who received supplements benefited from a 21 percent reduction in length of hospital stays. (By more than two full days, no less.)

They also saved nearly $5,000 in costs–again, more than a 20 percent reduction. And supplementation cut 30-day re-admission probability by almost 7 percent among patients with a history of having to return to the hospital after discharge.

I have to say, this is a tremendous accomplishment. Re-hospitalization has become something of an epidemic. While there are likely many reasons behind this trend, I can tell you that it almost never occurred back when I was a resident.

So if a simple nutritional supplement can help to turn this trend around, that’s good news for everyone.

Hospitals are becoming increasingly dangerous places. And that’s especially true with the emergence of antibiotic resistant bugs. If I had to stay in one, believe me, I would want all the help I could get.

This is the main reason I suggest that, whenever possible, continue your nutritional supplement regimen–even in the hospital.

Granted, this research was conducted on adult hospital stays. But I’ve seen supplements work miracles in children. So I truly hope the powers-that-be at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia hear about this new study–and reverse their anti-supplement policy accordingly.

I’d love to tell you what specific nutritional supplements were used in this study, but unfortunately, my research didn’t turn up any answers. Knowing hospitals, though, I’m guessing the regimen wasn’t all that sophisticated–a multivitamin, or maybe fish oil. Things you’re probably already taking. And I recommend you continue to do so–under any circumstance.

Of course, that said, you should always work closely with your doctor to determine the best, safest supplement regimen for your particular needs.

“Impact of Oral Nutritional Supplementation on Hospital Outcomes.” Am J Manag Care. 2013 Feb;19(2):121-8.