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Keywords:

  • chronic kidney disease;
  • community;
  • haemodialysis;
  • nursing;
  • nutrition;
  • renal nursing;
  • screening;
  • screening tools

Aims and objectives

To determine whether a nurse-completed dialysis nutritional screening tool improves referral rates for nutritional support and compare nutrition sensitive biochemical indices, mortality rates and patient-centred quality of life outcomes between referred and non-referred dialysis patients.

Background

People with chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis are nutritionally at risk. Nutrition screening has been shown to identify dialysis patients who are nutritionally at risk to refer to dietitian expertise.

Design

Prospective cluster-randomised control trial.

Methods

Monthly nurse-completed nutrition screening was completed for six consecutive months using a validated four-item instrument measuring weight change, serum phosphate, serum potassium and appetite. Participants (n = 81) were haemodialysis patients from four satellite haemodialysis centres in one Australian metropolitan health service. Primary outcome measure was rate of referral to dietetic services for nutrition support for intervention vs. control groups at six months. Secondary outcome measures were blood pressure, biochemical indices and mortality for referred vs. non-referred patients at six and nine months, and generic and dialysis-specific quality of life for referred vs. non-referred at nine months was examined.

Results

There were three times as many dietetic referrals in the intervention group than in the control group (26·3 vs. 9·3%). Serum phosphate increased significantly more in the referred patients than the non-referred patients. There were no clinically significant changes between groups in quality of life, blood pressure, mortality rates or other biochemical indices at either six or nine months.

Conclusion

Nurse-completed nutritional screening can lead to appropriate dietetic referrals for nutritional support by nutritional expert clinicians.

Relevance to clinical practice

This study is the first to demonstrate that monthly systematic nurse-completed nutritional screening can facilitate appropriate dietetic referrals that may lead to increased nutritional care for people in satellite dialysis centres.