A new screening tool developed in Australia to better detect nutritional issues in pediatric inpatients would allow providers to develop intervention and treatment plans to improve health outcomes, according to a new study.
Pediatric inpatients with poor nutrition are at greater risk for problems with their immune systems, physical and cognitive development and clinical outcomes, according to a news release about the study, which was published online in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, the research journal of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.
A four-question survey was found to be very effective at finding nutrition issues in pediatric patients, according to the release. The Pediatric Nutrition Screening Tool, tested in three hospitals in Australia, was found to be more effective than the existing pediatric Subjective Global Nutrition Assessment. The PNST identified 37.6% of patients as being at nutritional risk, whereas the pediatric SGNA identified 34.2%. The PNSA also was effective at finding patients with low body mass index, according to the release.
However, neither screening tool was highly effective at detecting patients whose growth was stunted due to malnutrition or patients who were overweight.
The PNST has the further advantage of being easier to administer than the SGNA or other screening tools. With only four questions and no requirements for further personnel training, the PNST can be administered quickly and simply upon patient admission, according to the release.
While the PNST showed promise in the study, the researchers suggest further study is needed to independently validate it and refine it for more effective use.