Oral nutrition support interventions for patients who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition: a survey of clinical practice amongst UK dietitians
Gibbs et al., JHND Early View
Guidance on choosing oral nutritional support strategies varies and the evidence for different approaches is discordant. The present study aimed to examine opinion and practice in the use of oral nutritional support amongst UK dietitians and to assess the factors that influence these clinical decisions.
The study comprised a cross‐sectional, anonymous, national survey of UK dietitians.
There were 207 completed responses (3% response rate). More dietitians reported using combined approaches (COMB) [n = 129 (62%)] over food‐based (FB) strategies [n = 70 (34%)] or oral nutritional supplements (ONS) alone [n = 8 (4%)] (N = 207, P < 0.001). Intervention choice was associated with clinical setting and clinical speciality; community dietitians reported more frequent use of FB or ONS alone [n = 48 (59%)] versus COMB [n = 34 (41%)] compared to acute dietitians [COMB: n = 83 (78%) COMB versus FB or ONS alone: n = 24 (22%)] (N = 207, P < 0.0001). Specialist nutrition support dietitians reported more frequent use of FB or ONS alone [n = 22 (54%)] versus COMB [n = 19 (46%)] compared to nonspecialists [FB or ONS alone: n = 17 (45%) versus COMB: n = 21 (55%)] and other specialist dietitians [FB or ONS: n = 39 (30%) alone versus COMB: n = 89 (70%)] (P = 0.017). The greatest influences on choice were ease of implementation [n = 192 (93%)], departmental protocols [n = 184 (89%)], professional management pathways [n = 179 (87%)] and published research [n = 165 (80%)]. Patient circumstances [n = 117 (57%) and n = 99 (48%)] and ease of implementation [n = 35 (17%) and n = 48 (24%)] were reported as most influential in the first and second case scenarios, respectively.
There is a need for further research on approaches to the dietetic management of adult malnutrition.