Dietitian involvement has considerable benefits for hospitalized patients, resulting in better health outcomes and improved quality of life. However, dietitian referral routines are often inappropriate in hospitals. The aim of this study was to identify predictors for dietitian referrals in hospitalized patients. This study was performed on data collected in an annually conducted cross-sectional study (in the years 2017, 2018, 2019). A standardized questionnaire was used to collect data, and logistic regression and a generalized estimating equation (GEE) model were used to calculate the associations between the patient characteristics and dietitian referrals. In the final GEE model, the following predictors for dietitian referrals remained significant: diabetes diagnosis (OR 1.80), cancer diagnosis (OR 1.76), digestive disease diagnosis (OR 2.03), presence of a pressure injury (OR 1.58), risk of malnutrition based on body mass index (BMI) and weight loss (OR 1.72), risk of malnutrition based on the malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST) (2.55), and the application of any malnutrition screening at admission to hospital (2.20). Total dietitian referral rate was 16.8%. The highest rate of dietitian referrals was found in patients with a risk of malnutrition (37%). This study included a large sample of hospitalized adult patients and revealed a low dietitian referral rate among these patients. These results indicate that dietitian involvement in hospitalized patients with nutrition-related conditions urgently needs to be improved.
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