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An audit to assess awareness and knowledge of nutrition in a UK spinal cord injuries centre

Wong, SSH; (2012) An audit to assess awareness and knowledge of nutrition in a UK spinal cord injuries centre. Spinal Cord 10.1038/sc.2011.180.

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Abstract

Study design: A single centre survey. Objectives: To test: (i) awareness of nutrition screening tools and related care plans and; (ii) nutrition knowledge of doctors, nurses and dietitians working in spinal cord injuries (SCI) centres. Methods: The 14-item questionnaire was sent to 102 nurses, 17 doctors and 15 dietitians working in UK SCI centres during January–March 2010. Results: Sixty-two (46.5%) questionnaires were completed and returned for analysis. The present audit demonstrated that awareness of the need for nutritional screening is good: 83% of staff reported that they are aware there is a nutrition screening tool. This audit also demonstrated areas of poor knowledge, such as calorie content of intravenous fluids, indicators of malnutrition, and choice of nutritional support in malnourished patients. All doctors, but only 38% of nurses, knew how to calculate body mass index. Surprisingly, nearly half (49%) of the participants thought that at least 20% weight loss was required to indicate malnutrition. This high-perceived cut-off point suggests that malnutrition is likely to continue to be undetected and unmanaged. The overall scores (median) showed clear differences in nutritional knowledge between groups (median: dietitians 92.8%; doctors 53.5%; nurses 35.7; P<0.01). This suggests that dietitians could have an important role in training healthcare professionals about nutrition. Conclusion: This study highlights the need for further education in SCI medicine in order to improve the efficacy of feeding and nutrition therapy for SCI patients.

Type:Article
Title:An audit to assess awareness and knowledge of nutrition in a UK spinal cord injuries centre
DOI:10.1038/sc.2011.180
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Medicine (Division of)

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