This week is Malnutrition Week ANZ – an opportunity for health services to increase focus on malnutrition identification and management.
The theme for this year’s Malnutrition Week is, ‘Be a nutrition champion’.
Nadia Obeid, Senior Dietitian, said nurses, doctors, allied health staff, and food service professionals, all play a key role in championing nutrition and improving the quality of life of the patients they care for.
“Helping professionals and staff to upskill in identifying malnutrition risk is invaluable,” she said.
Malnutrition occurs when a person does not consume enough energy and/or protein for their body’s needs. Malnutrition can also happen to anyone, regardless of usual body size.
“Malnourished patients tend to stay longer in hospital, are more likely to be readmitted, and can cost two to three times more to treat,” Nadia said.
To help prevent malnutrition, Nadia says clinicians should refer patients to a dietitian when there is unintentional weight loss and reduced appetite and food intake.
Every Northern Health inpatient is also required to be weighed and screened for malnutrition within 24 hours of admission to hospital. Further re-screening is also required weekly thereafter.
“We are constantly undertaking quality work to prevent and reduce malnutrition amongst our patients. Most recently, Northern Health nurses were surveyed on what strategies they think would help improve weighing and malnutrition screening of inpatients. The most popular strategy was to have a dedicated Weighing and Malnutrition Re-Screening Day across all Northern Health inpatient wards,” Nadia said.
“A dedicated Weighing and Malnutrition Re-Screening Day strategy will commence the weekend of 15 October, with Saturday being the day for wards to aim to weigh all inpatients, and re-screen for malnutrition, with the aim to have everyone completed by the end of the weekend.”
“This Saturday, start your day with a weigh. Become a nutrition champion and improve the quality of life for those you are caring for.”
Featured image: Nadia Obeid, Senior Dietitian and Bree DeGabrielle, Registered Nurse.