Nutritional status recording in hospitalized patient notes.

L Matos, M A Teixeira, A Henriques, M M Tavares, L Alvares, A Antunes, Teresa F Amaral


The prevalence of disease-related malnutrition (DRM) is described to be of 30-60% on admission to hospital, and of 10% in the community. It has been associated with worse clinical outcomes, namely higher morbidity and mortality as well as higher frequency of health care and its associated costs. The lack of screening and monitoring of nutritional status have been said to be risk factors for the increased prevalence of DRM during hospital stay. The aims of this study were to evaluate the importance given by health care professionals to certain aspects related with nutritional status (weight, food intake) of hospital patients and to see if there were any differences between the under and non undernourished ones. A systematic sample of patients from six hospitals was collected. Pregnancy, paediatric age and critical illness were exclusion criteria as well as incapacity to fulfil nutritional risk screening protocol and length-of-stay less than 24h. Socio-demographic, anthropometric data and clinical notes (e.g. weight, food/nutrient intake) from medical records were collected and Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 protocol was applied. A total of 1152 patients were included in this study. The prevalence of nutritional risk varied between 28.5% and 47.3% while undernutrition classified by anthropometrical parameters was considerably lower (6.3% to 14.9%). Two thirds of the patients had their food intake monitored and registered in medical records but only one third were weighted. Undernourished patients had their food intake more frequently monitored but their weight was less frequently measured, than the well-nourished ones. DRM prevalence amongst hospital patients on admission is significantly high. Clinical notes regarding nutritional status is rather infrequent on medical records. This study showed that urges the need to empower health care providers of the importance of the screening and monitoring of weight and food intake, on admission and during hospital stay.

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