Malnutrition is common in hospitals and is a risk factor for pressure ulcers. Nutrition care practices relating to the identification and treatment of malnutrition have not been assessed in patients at risk of pressure ulcers. The present study describes nutrition care practices and factors affecting nutritional intakes in this patient group.
The study was conducted in four wards at two hospitals in Queensland, Australia. Adult patients at risk of pressure ulcers as a result of restricted mobility were observed for 24 h to determine their daily oral intake and practices such as nutrition screening, documentation and intervention. Independent samples t-tests and chi-squared tests were used to analyse dietary intake and nutrition care-related data. Predictors of receiving a dietitian referral were identified using logistic regression analyses.
Two hundred and forty-one patients participated in the present study. The observed nutritional screening rate was 59% (142 patients). Weight and height were documented in 71% and 34% of cases. Sixty-nine patients (29%) received a dietitian referral. Predictors of receiving a dietitian referral included lower body mass index and longer length of stay. On average, patients consumed 73% and 72% of the energy and protein provided, respectively. Between 22% and 38% of patients consumed <50% of food provided at main meals.
Nutrition care practices including malnutrition risk screening and documentation of nutritional parameters appear to be inadequate in patients at risk of pressure ulcers. A significant proportion of these patients eat inadequately at main meals, further increasing their risk of malnutrition and pressure ulcers.
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