ESPEN Guidelines for Nutrition Screening 2002
About 30% of all patients in hospital are undernourished. A large part of these patients are undernourished when admitted to hospital and in the majority of these, undernutrition develops further while in hospital (1). This can be prevented if special attention
is paid to their nutritional care. Other features of the patient’s primary disease are screened routinely and treated (e.g. dehydration, blood pressure, fever), and it is unacceptable that nutritional problems causing significant clinical risk are not identified. Neglect is also
beginning to have medico-legal consequences, since an increasing number of cases of nutritional neglect are being brought to the courts. There is every reason, therefore, for hospitals and healthcare organizations to adopt a minimum set of standards in this area.
However, the lack of a widely accepted screening system which will detect patients who might benefit clinically from nutritional support is commonly seen as a major limiting factor to improvement. It is the purpose of this document to give simple guidelines as to how undernutrition, or risk for development of undernutrition, can be detected, by proposing a
set of standards which are practicable for general use in patients and clients within present healthcare resources.
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