A low proportion of malnourished patients receive nutrition treatment — results from nutritionDay
NutritionDay is a yearly point-prevalence study of malnutrition in hospitals from more than 50 countries. The aim of the present study was to quantify the frequency of malnutrition and the proportion of malnourished patients receiving nutritional treatment in two university hospitals in Norway using data from nutritionDay. All units at Oslo University Hospital (OUH) and University Hospital of Northern Norway (UNN) were invited to participate in nutritionDay 2014, and 28 out of 85 eligible units agreed to take part. Malnutrition was diagnosed based on body mass index (BMI), weight reduction and food intake in the previous week, according to national guidelines and ESPEN criteria. Data from 488 patients were available, representing 90.1% of occupied beds in participating units. Thirty percent of the patients were diagnosed malnourished when national criteria were used, and only 41% of these patients received nutritional treatment. The estimated malnutrition rate was 11% when the ESPEN consensus criteria were used. Data on weight or height were frequently missing in the patient records, and BMI could only be calculated in two-thirds of the patients. The frequency of low BMI (<18.5 kg/m 2 ) was only 5%. Involuntary weight loss was present in 37% of the patients, and 60% had eaten less than normal in the previous week. Oncology units had the highest frequency of patients with low BMI, and the highest weight loss and overall malnutrition rate. Surgery and geriatric units had the highest rate of patients with low food intake. In this study, nearly 60% of the malnourished patients did not receive any nutritional treatment, and this indicates a potential for improved nutritional care and cost savings. Low food intake and weight loss were frequent at these two Norwegian hospitals, and in line with previous reports from nutritionDay in other countries.