Nutrition screening by nurses in dialysis

Paul Bennett, Michelle Miller, Richard Woodman, Kathleen Hill, Susan Murray, Jonathan Gleadle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To determine whether a nurse-completed dialysis nutritional screening tool improves referral rates for nutritional support and compare nutrition sensitive biochemical indices, mortality rates and patient-centred quality of life outcomes between referred and non-referred dialysis patients. Background: People with chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis are nutritionally at risk. Nutrition screening has been shown to identify dialysis patients who are nutritionally at risk to refer to dietitian expertise. Design: Prospective cluster-randomised control trial. Methods: Monthly nurse-completed nutrition screening was completed for six consecutive months using a validated four-item instrument measuring weight change, serum phosphate, serum potassium and appetite. Participants (n = 81) were haemodialysis patients from four satellite haemodialysis centres in one Australian metropolitan health service. Primary outcome measure was rate of referral to dietetic services for nutrition support for intervention vs. control groups at six months. Secondary outcome measures were blood pressure, biochemical indices and mortality for referred vs. non-referred patients at six and nine months, and generic and dialysis-specific quality of life for referred vs. non-referred at nine months was examined. Results: There were three times as many dietetic referrals in the intervention group than in the control group (26·3 vs. 9·3%). Serum phosphate increased significantly more in the referred patients than the non-referred patients. There were no clinically significant changes between groups in quality of life, blood pressure, mortality rates or other biochemical indices at either six or nine months. Conclusion: Nurse-completed nutritional screening can lead to appropriate dietetic referrals for nutritional support by nutritional expert clinicians. Relevance to clinical practice: This study is the first to demonstrate that monthly systematic nurse-completed nutritional screening can facilitate appropriate dietetic referrals that may lead to increased nutritional care for people in satellite dialysis centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-732
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Community
  • Haemodialysis
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Renal nursing
  • Screening
  • Screening tools


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