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Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam in Hospitalized Patients

Published March 27, 2024

Published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, this study describes completion rates of Nutrition-Focused Physical Exams (NFPE) by registered dietitian nutritionists in hospitalized adults and children.

Trained RDNs reported their ability to evaluate assessment sites for subcutaneous fat and muscle loss, fluid accumulation, and micronutrient status, and to complete handgrip strength in adults and children 6 and older, and mid-upper arm circumference measurements in children.

RDNs from 39 adult and 29 pediatric U.S. hospitals conducted NFPEs for 327 adults and 214 children aged 1 month to 17.9 years. They successfully evaluated 25 of 27 and 19 of 26 unique NFPE components in more than 80% of adults and children, respectively.

Common reasons the full NFPE was not completed include limited mobility in adults and patient refusal in children. RDNs had lower odds of completing NFPEs in adults with lower education levels compared to higher education levels or higher versus lower nutrition complexity and in younger children compared to older children.

NFPE trainings and clinical protocols implemented in inpatient nutrition departments should provide RDNs with additional troubleshooting advice and strategies for completing an NFPE with patients who may require a more flexible approach or more time because of mobility, medical equipment, nutrition complexity, health literacy-related challenges, or developmental stage.

To learn more, read the full article.

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