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J Paediatr Child Health. 2004 May-Jun;40(5-6):295-8.

Outcomes of a nutrition audit in a tertiary paediatric hospital: implications for service improvement.

Author information

1
Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the process of anthropometric assessment of nutritional status in a tertiary paediatric hospital, to identify the barriers and to make recommendations for service improvement.

METHODS:

The accuracy of height and weight scales in wards was checked. Dietitians measured height and weight of a representative sample of 245 inpatients and checked whether these measurements had been recorded on bed charts. Patients were classified as overweight, obese or under-nourished. Diagnoses and procedures were obtained for each patient. Funding implications were modelled for inappropriate coding of nutritional status.

RESULTS:

The barriers to nutritional assessment and management of nutritional comorbidities were: (i) inaccurate height scales in seven out of 12 wards; (ii) under-recording of height and weight on patient bed charts (73% height missing, 12% both height and weight missing); (iii) under-reporting of obesity and under-nutrition in medical notes (one of eight obese patients, and none of 28 undernourished patients, reported); and (iv) low referral rate of obese or under-nourished children to dietetic services (two of 42 overweight/obese patients referred, five of 28 undernourished patients referred). Funding simulation showed that if under-nourished patients were correctly diagnosed then the potential facility reimbursement would have increased by $A52 326.

CONCLUSIONS:

Barriers to nutritional assessment can lead to failure to diagnose and treat both over- and under-nutrition, thereby affecting quality of patient care, and may have financial implications for hospitals. Suggestions for service improvement include provision of accurate equipment, adequate training of staff undertaking nutritional assessments and clear definitions of staff responsibilities in all aspects of the process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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