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Open AccessArticle

Profiling Malnutrition Prevalence among Australian Rural In-Patients Using a Retrospective Census of Electronic Medical Files over a 12-Month Period

1
Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE), Institute for Health Transformation, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
2
Deakin Rural Health, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong 3220, Australia
3
Colac Area Health, Colac, VIC 3250, Australia
4
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University, Geelong 3220, Victoria, Australia
5
Biostatistics Unit, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165909
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 12 August 2020 / Accepted: 13 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Health Care Sciences & Services)
In-patient malnutrition leads to poor outcomes and mortality, and it is largely uninvestigated in non-urban populations. This study sought to: (1) retrospectively estimate the prevalence of malnutrition as diagnosed by dietetics in the rural Australian setting; (2) establish the proportion of all patients at “nutritional risk”; and (3) explore associations between demographic and clinical factors with malnutrition diagnosis and nutritional risk. A retrospective census was undertaken of medical files of all patients aged ≥18 years admitted to a rural hospital setting over a 12-month period. Logistic regression was used to explore associations between malnutrition diagnosis, nutritional risk and patient-related factors. In total, 711 admissions were screened during the 12-month period comprising 567 patients. Among the 125 patients seen by dietitians, 70.4% were diagnosed with malnutrition. Across the total sample, 77.0% had high levels of nutrition related symptoms warranting a need for further assessment by dietitians. Malnutrition diagnosis by dietitians was associated with being over the age of 65 years, and patients had higher odds of being admitted to a residential aged care facility following discharge. In this rural sample, the diagnosis rate of malnutrition appeared to be high, indicating that rural in-patients may be at a high risk of malnutrition. There was also a high proportion of patients who had documentation in their files that indicated they may have benefited from dietetic assessment and intervention, beyond current resourcing. View Full-Text
Keywords: malnutrition; in-patients; rural; malnutrition risk; census; electronic medical files malnutrition; in-patients; rural; malnutrition risk; census; electronic medical files
MDPI and ACS Style

Alston, L.; Green, M.; Versace, V.L.; A. Bolton, K.; Widdicombe, K.; Buccheri, A.; Imran, D.; Allender, S.; Orellana, L.; Nichols, M. Profiling Malnutrition Prevalence among Australian Rural In-Patients Using a Retrospective Census of Electronic Medical Files over a 12-Month Period. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5909.

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