Nutrition Screening vs Nutrition Assessment: How Do They Differ?

Nutrition in Clinical Practice. Aug-Sep 2008; 23(4):366-72. doi: 10.1177/0884533608321131.
Charney P.


Interest in nutrition screening has increased rapidly due to regulatory requirements as well as the known adverse impact of nutrition deficits on outcomes of hospitalization. Screening programs now in use in acute care are often complex and difficult to administer. Current interest in evaluation of all aspects of healthcare using evidence-based methods requires that nutrition screening programs be thoroughly evaluated. Clinicians attempting to evaluate evidence in support of different methods to identify patients who might have nutrition problems are often confronted with research that blurs the distinction between screening and assessment. Therefore, before identifying methods to conduct nutrition screening, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the difference between screening and assessment. A review of terms, definitions, and programs for screening in other areas of healthcare will provide some guidance to the clinician faced with development, implementation, and monitoring of nutrition screening programs. This facilitates development of nutrition assessment programs so that patients who have a nutrition screen are assessed in a timely fashion and receive appropriate nutrition interventions.

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Reference work for leading, current and selected literature in the field of clinical nutrition

Publications on clinical nutrition have grown steadily in recent years and the scientific evidence has been improved by numerous observational as well as intervention studies. Various umbrella organisations, such as the Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (GESKES), the German Society for Nutritional Medicine (DGEM) or the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) publish guidelines on nutrition in various clinical situations at regular intervals. Thus, a large amount of literature is available for evidence-based nutritional medicine.

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List of abbreviations

DGEM German Society for Nutritional Medicine (German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin)
GESKES  Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (German Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz) 
ESPEN European Society of Clinicl Nutrition and Metabolism