Compliance with nutrition screening in a children’s hospital

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There has been an increased emphasis on the nutritional care of children in hospital with the recognition that those admitted to hospital, particularly with chronic conditions, are at significant nutrition risk. However, although nutrition risk screening tools (NRST) are widely used in acute hospital settings compliance with their use is poorly reported.


One-day cross-sectional audit of anthropometry/NRST records, Southampton Children’s Hospital. Inclusion criteria were all in-patients present on the ward between 8 am and 4 pm. Comparison was made with previous data.


One hundred and thirteen records were reviewed. Anthropometric measures; weight recorded in 96.4% length/height recorded in 64%. This reflects a significant improvement on previous length/height data of 19%. Compliance with NRST was poor; only 17% of records were completed.


Compliance with basic anthropometry was high and better than previously reported although use of nutritional screening tools was poor. This raises questions about the usefulness of current tools in clinical practice and whether measurement of height, weight and assessment of intake and nutrition risk may be more appropriate.

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