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BACKGROUND: Malnutrition, sarcopenia and cachexia are clinical wasting syndromes characterised by muscle loss. Systematic monitoring by body composition assessment (BCA) is recommended for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of the syndrome(s). This study investigated practices, competency, and attitudes of Australian dietitians regarding BCA, to inform a local implementation process.
METHODS: Applying the Action cycle in the Knowledge to Action framework, surveys were distributed to the 26 dietitians of an 800-bed tertiary hospital. The survey assessed barriers and enablers to performing routine BCA in clinical care. Results were categorised using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and suitable interventions mapped using the Behaviour Change Wheel.
RESULTS: Twenty-two dietitians (84.6%) completed the survey. Barriers to BCA were identified in all TDF domains, particularly in Knowledge, Skills, Social/professional role and identity, Beliefs about capabilities, and Environmental context and resources. Enablers existed in domains of: Skills; Beliefs about consequences; Goals; Environmental context and resources; Social influences; Intentions; Optimism; Reinforcement.
CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that hospital dietitians experience individual, team, and organisational barriers to adopt BCAs in clinical practice. We were able to formulate targeted implementation strategies to overcome these barriers to assist BCA adoption into routine practice.
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