Implementation of nutrition risk screening using the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool across a large metropolitan health service
Cooper et al., JHND Early View
A standardised nutrition risk screening (NRS) programme with ongoing education is recommended for the successful implementation of NRS. This project aimed to develop and implement a standardised NRS and education process across the adult bed-based services of a large metropolitan health service and to achieve a 75% NRS compliance at 12 months post-implementation.
A working party of Monash Health (MH) dietitians and a nutrition technician revised an existing NRS medical record form consisting of the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool and nutrition management guidelines. Nursing staff across six MH hospital sites were educated in the use of this revised form and there was a formalised implementation process. Support from Executive Management, nurse educators and the Nutrition Risk Committee ensured the incorporation of NRS into nursing practice. Compliance audits were conducted pre- and post-implementation.
At 12 months post-implementation, organisation-wide NRS compliance reached 34.3%. For those wards that had pre-implementation NRS performed by nursing staff, compliance increased from 7.1% to 37.9% at 12 months (P < 0.001). The improved NRS form is now incorporated into standard nursing practice and NRS is embedded in the organisation’s ‘Point of Care Audit’, which is reported 6-monthly to the Nutrition Risk Committee and site Quality and Safety Committees.
NRS compliance improved at MH with strong governance support and formalised implementation; however, the overall compliance achieved appears to have been affected by the complexity and diversity of multiple healthcare sites. Ongoing education, regular auditing and establishment of NRS routines and ward practices is recommended to further improve compliance.