Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Dietetics Administration (MDA)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Kim McMahon


Kim McMahon


Literature Review

Undernutrition in the hospital setting has been shown to cause adverse outcomes. Screening for nutritional risk assists in the detection of undernutrition with subsequent early intervention to prevent further decline. While many nutrition screening tools exist, none are proven to detect undernutrition. Furthermore, many barriers exist for utilizing nurses as primarily responsible for screening patients for nutritional risk.


A hospital reviewed the nutrition screening process and found that the form used and screening factors were insufficient to adequately detect undernutrition and appropriate referrals for dietitians.


1) Determine if nursing compliance improved when the nutrition screening form was integrated with the Interdisciplinary Care Plan form. 2) Improve the relevance of the nutrition screening risk factors used and the overall screening tool.


The Interdisciplinary Plan of Care form was updated to include the nutrition screening tool and used on the Medical /Surgical unit. Data was also collected on the Intensive Care Unit which continued to use the original screening tool.


Screening completion did not improve with the implementation of the new screening process, however the quality and quantity of referrals from the new screening form did improve. Total compliance for nurses responsibility also improved with the new form.


Integrating nutrition screening factors into an interdisciplinary plan of care can improve the rate of dietitian referrals. Nutritional screening procedures must be continually reevaluated for effectiveness in detecting undernutrition in the hospitalized patient. Further studies must be conducted to evaluate the validity and specificity of all nutrition screening tools.