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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Annetta M. G. 1, Pittiruti M. 2, De Rosa S. 1, Franchi P. 1, Pintaudi G. 1, Caricato A. 1, Antonelli M. 1
1 Department of Emergency and Intensive Care, Catholic University Hospital “A.Gemelli”, Rome, Italy;
2 Department of Surgery, Catholic University Hospital “A. Gemelli”, Rome, Italy
BACKGROUND: A proper strategy for fighting hospital malnutrition should include nutritional screening of all hospitalized patients, adequate utilization of the Hospital facilities — such as Clinical Nutrition Services or Nutrition Teams — and an adequate algorithm for the adoption of proper nutrition support (oral, enteral or parenteral) with proper timing. The main aim of the present study was to investigate the current policies of different non-intensive wards of our institution (a 1100 beds University Hospital) in terms of prevention of hospital malnutrition.
METHODS: We conducted a one-day survey to verify the current policies of nutritional screening and the indication to nutritional support in adult patients, interviewing nurses and physicians of our non-intensive hospital wards.
RESULTS: A total of 29 wards were considered, which sum up to 755 hospitalized patients. We found that nutritional screening at admission is routinely assessed only in 41% of wards and that oral nutrient intake is controlled regularly only in 72%. Indication to clinical nutrition support and specifically to artificial nutrition is not consistent with the current international guidelines. Only 14% of patients were receiving artificial nutrition at the moment of the survey and the majority of them were given parenteral nutrition rather than enteral feeding.
CONCLUSION: Our survey confirmed that in large hospitals the main barriers to the fight against hospital malnutrition are the lack of knowledge and/or committment by nurses and physicians as well as the lack of well-defined hospital policies on early nutritional screening, surveillance of nutritional status and indication to nutrition support.