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What nutritional support literature do hospital nursing staff require?


Dr Frost, Nutrition and Dietetic Department, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, UK. Tel.: +44 20 83833048 Fax: +44 20 83833379 E-mail:



Many patients require nutritional intervention to help treat and/or prevent malnutrition. Nursing staff play a key role in identifying malnourished patients. To improve the management of artificial nutritional support, the Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust has produced guidelines. This audit aimed to assess the need and adequacy of these guidelines and to examine any additional information required.


The dietetic department and nursing practice group developed a questionnaire. A total of 260 questionnaires were distributed by dietitians, 10 copies of the questionnaire to nurses on 26 wards. The completed forms were returned by internal post or collected the dietitian.


The response rate was 29%. All 77 nurses who responded felt there was a need for nutrition literature. Seventy-three per cent of nurses were aware that the guidelines existed; however, referral to the resource was poor. Requests for additional information encompassed tube feeding and catering information. To provide this information, 84% requested a nutrition tutorial, 81% a preprinted care plan and 96% a ward manual specific to their speciality.


All nurses who were surveyed requested nutrition information. The current guidelines already reflect the requested information, but usage is poor. We aim to improve access and awareness by the hospital intranet, nutrition education and induction programme. The next update will cover gaps identified and additional requirements outside the guidelines remit will be discussed with the nursing practice group.

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