More than half of Americans with high rates of hospitalization either don’t have regular access to healthy food or are at risk of not having enough food in their homes.
Study authors say patients with frequent hospital admissions are often frail or have difficulty walking.
And inadequate nutrition can significantly affect health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Researchers used billing data at a hospital data to identify people admitted at least three times in the previous year.
They surveyed 40 adult patients nearly half had five or more inpatient admissions in that time.
Only one wheelchair-bound man was homeless but every single one of those questioned relied on outside help to get food.
The authors concluded as a first step hospitals could learn to communicate with patients to see whether they have enough and appropriate food.
Meanwhile they believe the federal government could lead an effort to build bridges between medical care and social services.
Findings appear in the journal “Popular Health Management.”