Identifying patients at risk for malnutrition is a MUST: A multidisciplinary approach

Irit Chermesh*, Irena Papier, Amir Karban, Yoram Kluger, Rami Eliakim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & aims: Disease-associated malnutrition is common. Over 30% of patients are at high risk for malnutrition on admission to hospital. Patients with malnutrition are prone to longer hospitalizations, higher rates of complications and mortality. Malnutrition is not recognized by treating physicians and staff as an important issue. To effectively tackle in-hospital malnutrition, it is necessary to recruit all the staff members to the task. The present paper describes means to promote alertness towards the identification and treatment of malnutrition in a large referral hospital. Methods: The paper describes the process of integrating the identification of patients at risk for malnutrition into routine clinical work. Results: Coordinating the action of physicians, nurses, and dieticians resulted in increasing awareness of in-hospital malnutrition. During a period of three years, systematic screening for malnutrition on admission was integrated into the admission process and medical charts in ten wards. Screening performance rose from almost nil (only as part of the doctor's history taking and not on a regular basis) to >90%. Conclusion: Raising awareness of malnutrition, identifying patients at risk, and providing treatment requires a multi-disciplinary approach in order to be effective during hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e41-e44
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


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