Frequency of and Reasons for False-Positive Consults Generated by the Malnutrition Screening Tool

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Nutrition screening on admission is one way to identify patients with malnutrition. The Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST) is a commonly used screening tool but has been found to generate false-positive consults.


The purpose of this research was two-fold: (1) to determine the percentage of nursing screens, using the MST, that generated a false-positive consult for a registered dietitian, and (2) to identify the reasons for these false-positive consults.


During a 3-month period, registered dietitians documented the number of false-positive consults received from the MST and reasons they were received.


Of the registered dietitian consults generated, 5.5% were deemed false-positive. The most common reason for a false-positive consult was patient-reported weight loss that had resolved.


As nurses are integral to completion of the MST, data generated can be used in ongoing education of nursing staff.

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