Introduction Malnutrition can increase hospital mortality rates, worsen clinical outcomes and increase the length of hospital stays. Those at particular risk include patients with cancer, gastrointestinal and neurological disease. We wanted to review whether patients admitted to the Acute Medical Unit were adequately assessed for malnutrition and whether identified patients had been referred to or received specialist nutritional assessment and support in a prompt manner.
Methods A prospective audit was performed on 77 acute medical admissions. Data was collected during the first 48 h of the patients’ stay and was compared to the current recommendations highlighted in the NICE Clinical Guideline 32 – ‘Nutrition support in adults’. Patients’ notes were then recalled following discharge to determine whether further nutritional interventions had taken place during their admission.
Results We found that only 36% of patients were screened appropriately for malnutrition and through our analysis, we identified that at admission 51% were either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Only one patient was referred to a dietician and started on nutritional support during the acute admission period.
Conclusion Nutrition assessment needs to be reinforced as a clinical priority and essential screening for patients admitted to hospital through the Acute Medical Unit. This should be jointly addressed by the medical and nursing teams and by ensuring early input from dieticians is available.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared.
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