Poor performance of mandatory nutritional screening of in-hospital patients

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Background & aims: Since 2006 it has been mandatory at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte to screen all patients for nutritional risk within 24 h of admittance. Audits conducted by department staff estimate that 70-80% of assessments are correctly executed, but the validity of this estimate is unknown.
The aim of the present study was to discover the true proportion of hospitalized patients receiving nutritional risk screening within the stipulated time limit and to evaluate the validity of the screening by comparison with medical records.
Methods: Retrospective examination of medical records of all patients (N ¼ 3278) hospitalized in September 2008 in 11 different medical specialities were analysed in 2009e2010.
Results: Of 2393 medical records 24% of the patients were screened, of these only 65% were screened within the stipulated time limit. Half of the conducted screenings were inaccurate, the most common error being underestimation of nutritional status. Forty-six percent of patients required a secondary
nutritional risk screening and 30% were found to be nutritionally at risk.
Conclusion: Only 8% of patients received the mandatory nutritional risk screening without procedural errors. We conclude that pre-scheduled, self-conducted audits are not viable as the basis of an assessment of the use of nutritional risk screening.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)862-867
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 38173627