Background: The King's Fund and British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition recommend that all hospital patients should have height and weight recorded, to detect the need for nutritional support. Systematic review evidence also suggests that protein and energy supplementation of adults in hospital with a wide range of conditions improves outcome.
Aim: To assess the recording of weight and height in hospitals.
Design: Survey (random sample).
Methods: As part of a survey on the provision of deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis, we collected information on height and weight recording from medical and nursing notes. We randomly selected five medical, five surgical, five orthopaedic, and five obstetrics and gynaecology directorates from across Scotland. Six hundred case notes were requested, and 88% were available for data extraction. Some 67% of hospital episodes provided information about weight, and 41% on both height and weight. General medicine directorates had the lowest recording of weight, and in medical and surgical directorates, both weight and height were rarely recorded in comparison with the other two directorates (p<0.001).
Discussion: Our survey suggests that recommendations to assess nutritional risk are not being followed, and that many patients at risk of malnutrition are not being detected or treated.