Malnutrition Screening: An Interprofessional Approach in Outpatient Oncology

Chelsey K. Schneider, MS, RD, CSO, CDN; Toby Bressler, PhD, RN, OCN®


Background: Malnutrition is highly prevalent in the oncology population and is associated with poor treatment outcomes.

Objectives: This study aimed to implement a malnutrition screening process using a validated tool in three outpatient cancer centers.

Methods: Nursing and nutrition department leaders collaborated to establish malnutrition screening. The Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST) was embedded in the electronic health record. Based on the MST, a score of 2 or greater is considered at risk for malnutrition. Nurses were educated on screening all patients completing their first cycle of infusion chemotherapy. Data were collected for six months.

Findings: Interprofessional collaboration established a process to implement malnutrition screening. Twenty-eight percent of patients with cancer were at risk for malnutrition. Fifty-three percent were at risk for malnutrition based on MST scores of 2. Compliance with the MST at first infusion visit was 30%–81% across the three cancer centers.

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