Stay on top of monitoring malnutrition within your service by using our 5-step guide to calculating MUST scores, written by social care expert Mark Topps.
Malnutrition is a condition that can affect us all and happens when someone’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients (undernutrition) or has too many nutrients (overnutrition). In a 2011 NICE study, it was found that malnutrition affects 41% of clients in residential care homes.
Some common signs and symptoms are:
"Malnutrition affects 41% of clients in residential care homes (NICE, 2011)."
One way to monitor malnutrition is to screen people and define their nutritional status on a regular basis using the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST), used across the NHS and throughout social care services.
For each of the below steps, refer to this handy guide provided by BAPEN, a charitable association aimed at raising awareness and advancing the care of people at risk of malnutrition.
Measure a person’s height and weight to get their BMI score. If you’re unable to obtain someone’s height or weight then you should use a recently documented/self-reported height and weight – this is usually pretty reliable and realistic.
Note the percentage of unplanned weight loss and score.
Establish if there are any acute diseases or illnesses that may contribute to nutritional intake being poor and score this.
Add each of the scores from steps 1, 2 and 3 together to obtain an overall risk of malnutrition.
Use management guidelines and/or local policy to develop a care plan.
Repeat the screening on a monthly basis in care homes and annually in the community.
The person should be referred to a dietician, plans should be put into place to improve their overall intake and the person should be closely monitored.
There you have it, a whistlestop tour to calculate MUST scores.
I’ll leave you with these final bits of advice:
Have a flick through some of our other articles.
Mark Topps discusses the importance of risk assessments in social care, and provides tips for how care teams can better reduce or mitigate risks.
Mark Topps shares 5 tips to help social care teams improve communication with their service users, and the different types of circumstances to consider.