Malnutrition can be identified using a validated screening tool such as the ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (MUST)3 - see bapen.org.uk NB: Healthcare professionals using screening tools should have appropriate skills and training.
When to screen
Opportunistically – On first contact within a new care setting e.g. upon registration with GP, first home visit, first outpatients appointment, on admission to a hospital or residential care setting 14,15. Other opportunities for screening include contact with district nurse or community pharmacist, for example at medication usage review (MUR). Upon clinical concern - examples include: unplanned weight loss, appearing thin, fragile skin, poor wound healing, pressure ulcers, apathy, muscle wasting, poor appetite, altered taste sensation, difficulty swallowing, altered bowel habit, loose fitting clothes or prolonged intercurrent illness. Also consider groups at risk of malnutrition (see page 4).
Recommended screening frequency
• Once an individual has been highlighted at risk of malnutrition, regular screening and monitoring is recommended to determine any improvement or deterioration and action required14
• Frequency is determined by risk category as per ‘MUST’ score
Oral Nutritional Supplements: Where individuals require (or already have) a prescription of ONS, this pathway will guide you in setting goals, deciding on dose and duration of ONS, how and when to monitor progress and when to discontinue prescription.
A Guide to Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community: the complete document is available.
A selection of publications for use by healthcare professionals, patients and carers are available in the resources section of the website.
A number of resources are available that have been developed to support patients and carers.
A number of resources are available that have been developed to assist healthcare professionals supporting patients at risk of malnutrition as a result of a specific condition. These include:
We can be contacted regarding the malnutrition pathway materials and website
If you have a combined BMI and weight loss calculator score of 1 or more please go to malnutritionselfscreening.org
for further information