Declan Walsh, MSc, FACP, FRCP, director, 2014 MASCC/ISOO International Symposium, discusses the under-diagnosis of malnutrition in palliative medicine.
This analysis was conducted because there was some concern that many physicians were not recognizing nutrition problems that many patients experience. There was also concern that there was insufficient communication between the medical team and dietician of a patient.
This analysis looked at medical records from dietician and attending physicians regarding nutrition. Researchers learned that the majority of patients were suffering from malnutrition and that, in general, physicians were under-recording the presence of malnutrition. When a physician did identify a nutrition issue, they often came to the same conclusion as a dietician. It is worth noting, Walsh says, that a dietician performs a formal assessment to identify malnutrition, while a physician is dealing with many issues the patient is facing. The information from the dietician and physician is complementary.
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