June 18, 2020

Malnutrition project receives a grant

The Dietetics team were successful in getting funding from Northern Health to complete a Malnutrition Project for three months, which is currently under way.

Malnutrition can be as high as forty per cent in an acute hospital setting. Patients may be malnourished on admission or develop malnutrition while in hospital.

Nadia Obeid, Senior Dietitian explained,  “Part of this malnutrition project includes undertaking a malnutrition point prevalence study in which we are identifying how many of our patients in the acute beds at Northern Hospital Epping and Broadmeadows Hospital are malnourished”.

Patients can become malnourished from a prolonged poor diet or inability to absorb nutrients. This can often be due to illness or surgery. Malnutrition can slow recovery time and lead to longer length of hospital stay, delay wound healing, increase the risk of infection and lead to muscle wasting.

National Standard 5 outlines actions that are relevant to the prevention and management of malnutrition, including having a process in place to screen for malnutrition risk, implement management plans for patients with malnutrition and undertake quality-improvement strategies to reduce the frequency and harm from malnutrition.

“Timely identification and management of malnutrition is essential to ensure we are providing high quality and safe care for our patients and decreasing the risk of further complications. Nutrition intervention and support can significantly improve patient outcomes including reducing recovery time, improving wellbeing and preventing further complications such as decreasing the risk of falls, delirium and infection,” added Nadia.

The project is auditing the current process for screening inpatients for malnutrition risk, identifying the prevalence of malnutrition amongst acute inpatients and ensuring those identified as malnourished are provided with personalised nutrition management plans.

The project will also collaborate with nursing staff to identify strategies that can be initiated to help support nursing staff to ensure malnutrition risk screening and weighing of patients is completed on every admission and weekly thereafter, and that referrals to the dietetic team are completed in a timely manner when nutrition risk is identified.

Nadia is planning to present the findings at the Northern Health Research week.

Featured image (left to right): Rachael Evans, Associate Director – Dietetics; Nadia Obeid, Senior Dietitian; Dian Sari, Dietitian.