Background & aim: This paper describes nutrition care practices in acute care hospitals across Australia
and New Zealand.
Methods: A survey on nutrition care practices in Australian and New Zealand hospitals was completed by
Directors of dietetics departments of 56 hospitals that participated in the Australasian Nutrition Care Day
Results: Overall 370 wards representing various specialities participated in the study. Nutrition risk
screening was conducted in 64% (n ¼ 234) of the wards. Seventy nine percent (n ¼ 185) of these wards
reported using the Malnutrition Screening Tool, 16% using the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool
(n ¼ 37), and 5% using local tools (n ¼ 12). Nutrition risk rescreening was conducted in 14% (n ¼ 53) of
the wards. More than half the wards referred patients at nutrition risk to dietitians and commenced
a nutrition intervention protocol. Feeding assistance was provided in 89% of the wards. “Protected” meal
times were implemented in 5% of the wards.
Conclusion: A large number of acute care hospital wards in Australia and New Zealand do not comply
with evidence-based practice guidelines for nutritional management of malnourished patients. This
study also provides recommendations for practice.