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Information for Health Care Professionals

Self-screening for malnutrition in the community


Malnutrition predisposes to disease, delays recovery from illness and detrimentally affects well-being. Most malnutrition arises and exists in the community, and most of the malnutrition found in hospitals originates from the community1. If malnutrition could be identified and treated early it could prevent or reduce suffering from health related problems, dependency on others, and resource use, such as GP visits and hospital admissions2, 3.

To help raise awareness of and combat malnutrition BAPEN has developed a range of aids for health and social care personnel working in various care settings. In line with a range of professional4-7 and government recommendations8 to help empower patients and involve them in their care9, 10 BAPEN has developed a self-screening tool. This enables them /or their carers identify their risk of malnutrition and to seek advice from their GP and/or other healthcare professionals.

The self-screening calculator

The self-screening calculator included in this website is based on the ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (‘MUST’) for adults11, the most commonly used nutrition screening tool throughout the UK. ‘MUST’ is a quick to use, validated screening tool, designed to identify adults at risk of malnutrition in all care settings. For further information see Studies have shown that patients can effectively screen themselves in outpatient clinics12, 13 using an electronic version of ‘MUST’ similar to the one available on this website.

Individuals identified as being at risk of malnutrition, can download a dietary advice sheet which gives them basic information and suggestions for improving their nutritional intake until they receive further advice from a healthcare professional. The dietary advice sheet comes from the ‘Malnutrition Pathway’, developed as a consensus recommendation by a wide range of professional organisations. The pathway provides guidance to GPs and other healthcare professionals on the dietary management of malnutrition in the community. Click here for a copy of the advice sheet and click here to link to the ‘Malnutrition Pathway’.

References can be viewed here

Print version with references


Woman with laptop

To help you check if you are losing too much weight and are at risk of becoming malnourished, BAPEN has developed a simple screening tool you can use along with advice to follow if you are at risk of becoming malnourished.

Calculate your risk