A systematic review of the cost and economic outcomes of home enteral nutrition

A. Wong, G. Goh, M. D. Banks, J. D. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Studies are lacking in the health economic implications of home enteral nutrition (HEN) in home-residing and long-term care/institutionalized patients. The aims of this review were to determine the total costs, the cost-effectiveness and other economic outcomes for HEN. Design: A systematic search of randomized trials and observational studies available from January 2000 to April 2016 was performed using standard literature and electronic databases. Inclusion criteria were adults receiving HEN with economic outcomes in the long-term care or home settings. There was no restriction to the control groups used in the studies. Results: A total of 10 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the studies were not specifically designed for economic evaluation. Cost per QALY was lower in residents residing in home compared to long-term care facilities, and HEN appeared to be cost-effective for those with pressure ulcers. Higher costs were incurred for patients with dementia on HEN. Lower hospitalization costs and infection rates were reported for patients who switched to commercial feeds from blenderized food. The availability of nutritional support teams may decrease overall costs but these studies were of poor study quality. Conclusions: The lack of good quality economic evaluation studies affected the ability to conclude the overall cost-effectiveness of HEN. There is a trend for cost-saving and improved clinical outcomes in some populations. HEN is unlikely beneficial for patients with dementia. The availability of a nutrition support team may lead to cost savings and improved clinical outcomes for HEN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost-analysis
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Economic outcomes
  • Home enteral nutrition
  • Long-term care

Cite this