When Diana Gonzalez took over the nutrition and metabolic support department at the University Hospital of San Jorge in Colombia four years ago, she promptly identified several areas she wanted to improve upon, including implementing critical processes for controlling patient diets and increasing access to early nutritional contributions.
"When I started, we hired more nutritionists and began educating medical caregivers and administrators on the impact of patients' malnutrition, including increasing their number of days in the hospital, which results in higher healthcare costs," Gonzalez recalls.
The new team received education and support from Baxter on the adequate administration of parental nutrition - including premixed intravenous solutions, vitamins and lipids - designed to help minimize the number of patients going without proper nutrition, particularly before and after surgical or diagnostic procedures.
The moment when you see your patient getting better thanks to the nutritional intervention you carried out is priceless.
Diana Gonzalez, Department of Nutrition and Metabolic Support in the University Hospital of San Jorge, Colombia
The training Baxter provided helped Gonzalez and her staff understand the vital role that parental nutrition plays in preventing in-hospital malnutrition and armed them with the knowledge and confidence they needed to help patients recover. Patients began to benefit from early nutritional contributions, which decreased the impact of complications from malnutrition.
"That moment when you see your patient getting better thanks to the nutritional intervention you carried out is priceless," Gonzalez says.
As a result of the team's success in decreasing patient medical complications through nutrition, Gonzalez's nutrition and metabolic support department now receives requests from other hospital departments, such as internal medicine, critical care and surgery, to provide their expertise.
"In our culture, offering food to someone is a sign of good service," Gonzalez says. "I'm in love with what I do and how my work reaches patients and their families. It doesn't matter how much or how little you do, they always express satisfaction and gratefulness. It really makes me feel like I'm doing something that matters to people."