Nutritional Screening: Development and Implementation of a Protocol in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck Cancer

Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2020 Aug 1;24(4):415-420. doi: 10.1188/20.CJON.415-420.


BACKGROUND: Half of all patients with head and neck cancer are malnourished at the time of diagnosis. Although nutritional status can be predictive of patient-related outcomes, nutritional screening protocols have not been widely accepted as standard of care.

OBJECTIVES: This article aims to develop and pilot a nutritional screening protocol in an outpatient head and neck clinic using the abridged version of the Patient Generated Subjective Global Assessment (abPG-SGA) so that at-risk patients are identified and can maintain or minimize weight loss and body mass index (BMI).

METHODS: At initial and subsequent visits, study participants completed the abPG-SGA, documenting percentage of weight loss and BMI from baseline.

FINDINGS: 317 patients completed the abPG-SGA, with 119 scoring 6 or more, prompting a dietitian referral. The nutritional screening protocol accurately identified at-risk patients and resulted in less weight loss and BMI change.