Recently released recommendations for detection and documentation of malnutrition in adults in clinical practice define 3 types of malnutrition: starvation related, acute disease or injury related, and chronic disease related. The first 2 are more easily recognized, but the third may be more often unnoticed, particularly in obese patients. Critical care patients tend to be at high risk for malnutrition and thus require a thorough nutritional assessment. Compared with patients of earlier times, intensive care unit patients today tend to be older, have more complex medical and comorbid conditions, and often are obese. Missed or delayed detection of malnutrition in these patients may contribute to increases in hospital morbidity and longer hospital stays. Critical care nurses are in a prime position to screen patients at risk for malnutrition and to work with members of the interprofessional team in implementing nutritional intervention plans.

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