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Home Industry News Malnutrition may be ‘misclassified’

Malnutrition may be ‘misclassified’

12th May 2009

Malnutrition may be being misdiagnosed in patients because an alert by the Department of Health (DoH) is being ignored, research claims.

Hospitals, care homes and mental health units are failing to calibrate weighing scales regularly according to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) second nutrition Screening Week Survey (NSW08) report.

The study discovered regular calibration of scales varied in care settings, with it more likely to happen in care homes than in hospitals, and least likely in mental health units.

Malnutrition was recorded in the research as “common in all types of care homes and hospitals, all types of wards and diagnostic categories, and across all ages. Most of those affected were in the high risk category”.

Professor Marinos Elia, co-lead of NSW08 said: “With more than one in four of admissions into hospital, one in five on admission to mental health units and over one in three admitted to care homes being identified at risk of malnutrition as recorded during BAPEN’s NSW08, it is vital that accurate information is collected on weight.”

BAPEN was also worried about the apparent lack of information given on discharge about malnutrition. They discovered around 50 per cent of the hospitals and 36 per cent of the mental health units contributing to the survey said they always or usually included malnutrition information on discharge.

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