Self-Completion of the Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment Short Form Is Feasible and Is Associated With Increased Awareness on Malnutrition Risk in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2020 Apr; 35(2):353-362. doi: 10.1002/ncp.10313. Epub 2019 May 27.
Jager-Wittenaar, H., de Bats, H. F., Welink-Lamberts, B. J., Gort-van Dijk, D., van der Laan, B., Ottery, F. D., & Roodenburg, J.


Background: We aimed to assess feasibility of self-completion of the Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment Short Form (PG-SGA SF) by head and neck cancer patients, and to assess self-reported increased awareness regarding malnutrition risk after self-completion.

Methods: Participants were randomized to complete the PG-SGA SF by paper or app. Feasibility was assessed by time needed to complete the PG-SGA SF, perceived difficulty, and help needed during completion. Participants were asked if they knew what malnutrition was (yes/no) and if they could define "malnutrition." They were also asked 9 questions on whether they perceived increased awareness of malnutrition risk after having completed the PG-SGA SF and 2 on their intention to change lifestyle habits.

Results: Of all participants (n = 59; 65.9 ± 12.6 years; 73% male), 55% completed the PG-SGA SF paper version and 46% the Pt-Global app. Median time needed for self-completion of the PG-SGA SF was 2 minutes 41 seconds (interquartile range: 1 minute 49 seconds-3 minutes 50 seconds). Forty-eight percent needed help with completion, indicating acceptable feasibility. Participants who completed the Pt-Global app needed help significantly more often (66%; 21/32) than those who completed the PG-SGA SF paper version (26%; 7/27) (P = 0.005). All difficulty scores were excellent. For 7/9 questions on malnutrition risk awareness, >50% of the participants answered positively.

Conclusion: The results of this study show that self-completion of the PG-SGA SF by head and neck cancer patients is feasible and that awareness regarding malnutrition risk may increase after completing the PG-SGA SF.

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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