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Subjective Global Nutrition Assessment (SGNA)
Subjective Global Nutrition Assessment (SGNA) is an abbreviated nutritional assessment and considered a gold standard for diagnosing pediatric malnutrition in hospitals. Dietitians or other trained professionals assess growth and weight change, food intake, functional status, and body composition. SGNA is a bedside method and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
When using the SGNA, the infant/child is classified according to a global score:
a) Well nourished, when the child is growing normally, with adequate food consumption and without gastrointestinal symptoms;
b) Moderately malnourished, when the patient shows signs of weight loss or loss of food consumption, functional capacity, and reduced muscle mass, demonstrating nutritional status impairment, when it was previously normal; and
c) Severely malnourished, when the child has progressive malnutrition, with weight loss, reduction of muscle and fat mass, and loss of food consumption.
When should SGNA be used?
Dietitians or other trained professionals should conduct SGNA within 24 hours of screening a hospital patient as ‘at risk’. SGNA should also be used when nutrition risk screening is not possible or necessary for some patients (e.g. language difficulties or receiving enteral or parenteral nutrition or recently transferred from critical care). In these cases, SGNA should be automatically completed to rule out malnutrition, preferably on the first day of admission. When developing your screening and assessment process for triaging patients, make sure that staff knows the process (i.e., automatic referral) and what to do for these patients who cannot be screened.
How do I triage patients using SGNA?
The SGNA score triages patients into normal, moderately malnourished or severely malnourished. Within P-INPAC, the routes of care for each level are:
a) Well nourished: Despite screening at nutrition risk, these patients do not require further advanced or specialized care.
b) Moderately malnourished: Advanced care and a more comprehensive nutrition assessment is required to determine cause of malnutrition, potential micronutrient deficiency, or other investigations that could change the treatment plan.
c) Severely malnourished: Patients should receive a more comprehensive assessment and specialized care.
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