Introduction Disease burden and hospital treatments are just some of the factors that contribute to the malnutrition found in hospitalised patients. Its prevalence has been documented over the years, with many studies linking its presence to a number of poorer outcomes including increased hospital stay, morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this audit was to examine whether the malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST) was used correctly and protocols followed for addressing malnutrition.
Methods We analysed the notes for all inpatients on the three care of the elderly wards at Lincoln County hospital during a 2-week period in June 2010 (n=90). Each patient's notes were evaluated to assess whether the MUST was used and if so appropriately. The audit recorded the frequency of MUST score recording and referral to dietetic/medical personnel when appropriate.
Results There were 90 patients included in this audit, 27 males and 63 females. The mean age was 79.5 years (50–99). 43 patients did not have a MUST score recorded within 24 h of admission and 32 did not have a weekly MUST score. Six patients required referral to dietetic/medical personnel with only two being referred. The protocol was followed correctly in 55 of the 90 patients.
Conclusion Malnutrition is a common problem within hospitalised patients. Proper nutritional care starts with the identification of at risk individuals through tools such as the MUST. In our experience the MUST tool is not used enough, delaying diagnosis with potentially worse outcomes.
Competing interests None declared.
References 1. British Dietetic Association. http://www.bda.uk.com/malnutrition_in_hospitals.html (accessed 20 Jan 2012).
2. NICE. Nutrition Support In Adults; NICE Clinical Guideline 32. 2006:7.
3. Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool. http://scottishintensivecare.org.uk/nutrition/docs/must.pdf (accessed 20 Jan 2012).