As part of normal dietetic care, a dietician can assess a patient's nutrition intake and losses. On the hospital ward, the dietician asks patients for his/ her recent and usual eating pattern to detect changes in their intake.
In a full nutritional assessment, the nutrition intake will be calculated and compared with the measured energy expenditure and other nutritional needs. This article gives an overview of important factors in the appraisal of intake and losses.
Dietary intake assessment
A dietary intake assessment can be useful in identifying malnutrition and is done in a structured manner by the treating dietician. In the Maastricht UMC+, dieticians use a 24-hour recall method or a food intake questionnaire to assess:
- Energy and protein: this is done with the aid of a nutrient calculation programme;
- Point deficiencies: if the treating dietician suspects point deficiencies, a more specific nutrient intake has to be assessed. Read more about point deficiencies and other biochemical parameters on this page.
A diminished nutrition intake
A diminished intake for more than 5 days or no intake for more than 3 days, based on the information given by patient him/herself or the nursing ward, calls for action. This also applies to situations where a patient suffers from frequent vomitting or severe diarrhea*.
*Definition diarrhea: three or more liquid or formless faeces a day, weighing more than 200 grams a day in big children and adults or more than 10 grams faeces per kg bodyweight per day in little children (Source: Diagnostisch Kompas, 2003)