The accuracy and consistency of nutrition care process terminology use in cases of refeeding syndrome

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Abstract

Aim:

Using standardised terminology in acute care has encouraged consistency in patient care and the evaluation of outcomes. As such, the Nutrition Care Process (NCP) and Nutrition Care Process Terminology (NCPT) may assist dietitian nutritionists in the delivery of high quality nutrition care worldwide; however, limited research has been conducted examining the consistency and accuracy of its use. We aimed to examine the NCPT that dietitian nutritionists would use to formulate a diagnostic statement relating to refeeding syndrome (RFS).

Methods:

A multimethod action research approach was used, incorporating two projects. The first was a survey examining Australian dietitian nutritionists’ (n = 195) opinions regarding NCPT use in cases of RFS. To establish if results were similar internationally, an interview was then conducted with 22 dietitian nutritionists working within 10 different countries.

Results:

‘Imbalance of nutrients’ was only identified as a correct code by 17% of respondents in project 1. No mention of this term was made in project 2. Also 86% of respondents incorrectly selected more than one diagnostic code. The majority of respondents (80%, n = 52/65) who incorrectly selected ‘Malnutrition’, without also selecting ‘Imbalance of nutrients’, selected ‘reduce intake’ as an intervention, suggesting some misunderstanding in the requirement for interrelated diagnoses, interventions and goals.

Conclusions:

Our findings demonstrate that there is limited accuracy and consistency in selecting nutritional diagnostic codes in relation to RFS. Respondents also demonstrated limited knowledge regarding appropriate application of the NCP and NCPT. Implementation practices may require further refinement, as accurate and consistent use is required to procure the benefits of standardised terminology.

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