Nutritional assessment is a prerequisite for nutritional delivery. Patients in intensive care suffer from under-nutrition and nutritional failure due to poor assessment. Nursing ability to early detect nutritional failure is the key for minimizing imparities in practice and attaining nutritional goals. Aim of this article is to examine the ability of Jordanian ICU nurses to assess the nutritional status of critically ill patients, considering biophysical and biochemical measures.
This cross sectional study recruited nurses from different health sectors in Jordan. ICU nurses from the governmental sector (two hospitals) and private sectors (two hospitals) were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire. Nurses’ knowledge and responsibility towards nutritional assessment were examined.
A total of 220 nurses from both sectors have completed the questionnaire. Nurses were consistent in regard to knowledge, responsibility, and documentation of nutritional assessment. Nurses in the governmental hospitals inappropriately perceived the application of aspiration reduction measures. However, they scored higher in applying physical examination and anthropometric assessment. Although both nurses claimed higher use of biochemical measurements, biophysical measurements were less frequently used. Older nurses with longer clinical experience exhibited better adherence to biophysical measurement than younger nurses.
Nursing nutritional assessment is still suboptimal to attain nutritional goals. Assessment of body weight, history of nutrition intake, severity of illness, and function of gastrointestinal tract should be considered over measuring albumin and pre-albumin levels. A well-defined evidence-based protocol as well as a multidisciplinary nutritional team for nutritional assessment is the best to minimize episodes of under-nutrition.