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Reliability of a nutrition screening tool for use in elderly day hospitals

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There are a plethora of nutrition screening tools (NSTs) in use in a variety of clinical settings that are either unvalidated and/or not client specific. There is a need for an NST for all elderly patients attending community day hospitals. At present such a validated tool is unavailable.Aims

To assess the reliability and reproducibility of a developed NST; and to identify elderly patients attending day hospitals who have, or are at risk of, poor nutritional status.Methods

Three day hospitals were selected and 70 admissions were prospectively assessed by Nursing staff and independently by a State Registered Dietitian (SRD) The patients’ nutritional status was anthropometrically assessed using the NST.Results

The level of agreement between the nurse and the dietitian for each of the levels of the NST and the overall score was either ‘good agreement’ or ‘very good agreement’ as defined by Cohen’s Kappa. Spearman’s Rank Correlation between objective markers of assessment and the Nurse or Dietitian score from the NST were all statistically significant (P=0.42). As an identifier of risk, the NST has low levels of sensitivity, but high levels of specificity.Conclusion

The Ayrshire NST is a reliable and valid tool which can be used by qualified Nursing staff to assist in screening elderly patients at high risk of poor nutritional status.

Keywords: day hospitals; elderly; nutrition screening; reliability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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