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The effectiveness, appropriateness and feasibility of nutritional screening tools in identifying adults at risk of malnutrition in the community

Helen Maule, Philip Satherley

A number of screening tools have been described in the literature for inpatient settings. Similarly, tools have been described for use in the community. However, it is evident that some of these tools are being used in capacities exceeding their original intention and application and there are no widely agreed screening methods or gold standards to assess their validity and reliability. The effective implementation of local screening programmes is therefore largely dependent on clinicians’ ability to appraise the literature and determine the parameters to be used for nutritional screening in a particular client population. This review and development of best practice guidelines will enable informed decision making on locally applicable screening tools that can be used by nurses and associated health care professionals to identify adults at risk of malnutrition in a community setting. Effectiveness, appropriateness and feasibility screening will facilitate the development of referral systems for nutritional assessment and management.


1. To identify screening tools being used in the community setting and identify their constituent components.
2. Evaluate the effectiveness of the identified components, assessing their sensitivity and specificity in identifying adults at risk of malnutrition.
3. To assess the appropriateness and feasibility of nurses using the components identified within a community setting.

This project addresses issues of relevance to the Health Technology Evaluation element of the Health Technologies theme.