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Clin Nutr. 1995 Dec;14(6):336-40.

Screening by nurses and junior doctors to detect malnutrition when patients are first assessed in hospital.

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St. Mark's Hospital, Northwick Park, Watford Road, Harrow, UK.


Four hundred and fifty four ward nurses and 319 junior doctors in 70 hospitals were interviewed about the last patient they had admitted, using a brief questionnaire. The availability of weighing scales and height measuring equipment was assessed by observers who visited the wards of 107 hospitals. Two thirds of nurses and doctors asked patients about recent food intake; half of the nurses and three quarters of the doctors asked about unintentional weight loss. Answers to the questions were recorded in the notes on 52-80 per cent of occasions. Two thirds of nurses weighed the patient, but only 11 per cent (%) measured height; approximately 80% of results were recorded. Most nurses and doctors who asked no questions about nutrition and made no measurements failed to do so because they regarded them as unimportant. Weighing scales were adequately provided, but height measuring equipment was available in only 17% of wards.

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