Malnutrition screening to save lives8th November 2006
Patients should be screened for malnutrition as standard, according to a new study.
Malnutrition can lead to an increase in hospital admission, length of stay, and even death.
A study by the British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition looked at the effectiveness of screening to detect malnutrition on more than 200 patients attending an upper gastrointestinal clinic at Leeds General Infirmary.
Findings show a screening tool called MUST - Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool - identified 15 per cent of the patients, were at high risk of malnutrition, but just six out of the 33 at risk had seen a dietician.
National guidelines already advise routine screening of patients for malnutrition, and researchers are urging trusts to carry out the screening as standard.
In a further study, researchers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust screened patients attending an chronic obstructive pulmonary disease clinic and found those at greatest risk of malnutrition are significantly more likely to be admitted to hospital and stay longer than those at least risk during a 12 month follow-up period.
The risk of death was also almost three times as high.
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