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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2012 May;36(3):292-8. doi: 10.1177/0148607111414023. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Nutrition screening tools: an analysis of the evidence.

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Annalynn Skipper and Associates, Oak Park, Illinois, USA.


In response to questions about tools for nutrition screening, an evidence analysis project was developed to identify the most valid and reliable nutrition screening tools for use in acute care and hospital-based ambulatory care settings. An oversight group defined nutrition screening and literature search criteria. A trained analyst conducted structured searches of the literature for studies of nutrition screening tools according to predetermined criteria. Eleven nutrition screening tools designed to detect undernutrition in patients in acute care and hospital-based ambulatory care were identified. Trained analysts evaluated articles for quality using criteria specified by the American Dietetic Association's Evidence Analysis Library. Members of the oversight group assigned quality grades to the tools based on the quality of the supporting evidence, including reliability and validity data. One tool, the NRS-2002, received a grade I, and 4 tools-the Simple Two-Part Tool, the Mini-Nutritional Assessment-Short Form (MNA-SF), the Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST), and Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST)-received a grade II. The MST was the only tool shown to be both valid and reliable for identifying undernutrition in the settings studied. Thus, validated nutrition screening tools that are simple and easy to use are available for application in acute care and hospital-based ambulatory care settings.

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