BACKGROUND & AIM: This paper describes nutrition care practices in acute care hospitals across Australia and New Zealand.
METHODS: A survey on nutrition care practices in Australian and New Zealand hospitals was completed by Directors of dietetics departments of 56 hospitals that participated in the Australasian Nutrition Care Day Survey 2010.
RESULTS: Overall 370 wards representing various specialities participated in the study. Nutrition risk screening was conducted in 64% (n = 234) of the wards. Seventy nine percent (n = 185) of these wards reported using the Malnutrition Screening Tool, 16% using the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (n = 37), and 5% using local tools (n = 12). Nutrition risk rescreening was conducted in 14% (n = 53) of the wards. More than half the wards referred patients at nutrition risk to dietitians and commenced a nutrition intervention protocol. Feeding assistance was provided in 89% of the wards. "Protected" meal times were implemented in 5% of the wards.
CONCLUSION: A large number of acute care hospital wards in Australia and New Zealand do not comply with evidence-based practice guidelines for nutritional management of malnourished patients. This study also provides recommendations for practice.