Researchers in Australia have developed a new tool, a four-question survey, that has been found to be effective in detecting nutrition issues among pediatric patients, a new study published in the Journal of Parenteral Enteral Nutrition reveals.
The Pediatric Nutrition Screening Tool (PNST), tested in three hospitals in Australia, was found to be more effective than the existing pediatric Subjective Global Nutrition Assessment (SGNA). The PNST identified 37.6 percent of patients as being at nutritional risk, whereas the pediatric SGNA identified 34.2 percent. The PNSA was also effective at finding patients with low Body Mass Index (BMI).
However, neither screening tool was highly effective at detecting patients whose growth was stunted due to malnutrition or patients who were overweight. Further refinement of PNST could improve this performance.
The PNST has the further advantage of being easier to administer than the SGNA or other screening tools. With only four questions and no requirements for further personnel training, the PNST can be administered quickly and simply upon patient admission.
While the PNST showed promise in this study, the researchers suggest further study is needed to independently validate its use and to refine it for more effective use.