New findings from a pilot clinical trial, GOURMET-HF (Geriatric Out-of-Hospital Randomized Meal Trial in Heart Failure), suggest that the delivery of low-sodium prepared meals to patients’ homes following hospital discharge resulted in fewer instances of readmission and generally improved health outcomes.
The pilot, spearheaded by Dr. Scott Hummel, M.D., M.S., University of Michigan cardiologist, was the first randomized clinical trial to test the effects of nutritionally complete, home-delivered low-sodium prepared meals on patient recovery following hospital discharge of elderly patients for acute decompensated heart failure. And the results are encouraging.
Sixty-six patients, each at least 55 years of age, were randomly divided into two categories —usual post-care routine and weekly delivery of prepared meals. The meals, produced and delivered by Mom’s Meals NourishCare (PurFoods, LLC) of Ankeny, IA, were compliant with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH-SRD) diet, with no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Most Americans eat about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, most of it coming from processed foods.
“Past research has shown that when patients with heart failure try to follow a low sodium diet, overall calorie and nutrient consumption often goes down. This means that well-intentioned patients trying to reduce their salt intake might be hurting their overall nutrition,” said Dr. Hummel. “An important part of this study was learning whether we could provide nutritionally complete meals that patients liked and would stick with eating.” That turned out to be the case. A wide variety of meals were available, catering to individualized personal tastes, and as a result, more than three quarters of the participants enjoyed the meals at least 80 percent of the days.
It wasn’t only the flavor of the meals that made this study a success. “This study worked well not just because of the content of the meals, but also the platform,” said Dr. Hummel. “Offering convenient home-delivery made proper nutrition easily available to patients. The assortment of condition-appropriate prepared meals and ability of patients to choose their favorites increased compliance, and likely contributed to the findings in the study.”
Initial results included:
- Strong trend toward improvement in symptoms and physical limitations related to heart failure in the meal home-delivery group, compared to the usual-care group
- 11 heart failure readmissions in the usual care group, compared to three in the meal home-delivery group, after 30 days
- 22 readmissions in the usual care group, compared to 13 in the meal home-delivery group, after 84 days
“While not statistically significant in this small study, these findings suggest that nutritional support has the potential to improve functional limitations and reduce heart failure readmissions,” continued Dr. Hummel. “There is reason to further investigate.”
The GOURMET-HF pilot clinical trial was conducted in partnership with Columbia University and the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Health System, and was funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Aging and PurFoods LLC. In-kind support was provided by PurFoods LLC’s Mom’s Meals NourishCare.
“Our mission is to provide a wide variety of nutritionally balanced condition-appropriate prepared meals to seniors, those managing chronic conditions, and patients recovering at home after a hospital stay.” said Catherine Macpherson, a Registered Dietitian and Chief Nutrition Officer for Mom’s Meals NourishCare. “Therefore, our participation in this clinical trial was a natural fit and we are delighted to see the resulting positive effects on patient health.”
About Mom’s Meals NourishCare
Mom’s Meals NourishCare is a leading nationwide provider of refrigerated, home-delivered prepared meals for long term services and supports, chronic care, post-discharge care and self-pay individuals. Menus support major health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and more. For more information, visit www.MomsMeals.com