Ms Lauren Hancox1, Ms Pui Shuen Lee1, Dr Natasha Armaghanian2, Dr Vasant Hirani3, Ms Georgia Wakefield4
1Nutrition and Dietetics Group, School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2Faculty of Medicine and Health, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Northern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, Australia, 3School of Life and Environmental Science at the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 4Wellbeing Unit, Macquarie Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Aim: Adults living with severe mental illness experience a greater burden of physical comorbidities and earlier mortality than the general population. Malnutrition, overnutrition, dysphagia, constipation and disordered eating have been observed in this population and can lead to poor nutritional status. Early identification of such conditions may reduce their impact on functional status, quality of life and health outcomes. This scoping review aimed to identify all nutrition risk screening methods published in English internationally for use with adults living with severe mental illness and ascertain which, if any, were validated for the target population.
Methods: A four-step search strategy was used to search six electronic databases and grey literature, from inception to April 2020, for articles reporting nutrition risk screening methods used in this population. Information on the content and validity of screening methods was extracted and analysed by three independent reviewers.
Results: Seventeen nutrition risk screening methods were identified, of which three were validated within a population of adults with severe mental illness. One screening method was found for both malnutrition and dysphagia risk, respectively, and three for constipation risk. No single method was found for overnutrition. Eleven screening methods were identified for disordered eating risk, of which two were validated for the target population.
Conclusions: Nutrition risk screening methods and their validation in adults living with severe mental illness are inadequately researched. This scoping review highlights the need for future research to develop new or validate existing screening methods specifically for the target population.
Lauren is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and recent graduate from the Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics program at the University of Sydney. She works as a clinical dietitian at John Hunter Hospital where she is passionate about delivering high quality, evidenced-based care to her patients and their families. Lauren has a keen interest in mental health which was instilled during her research semester at Macquarie Hospital. With the help of her supervisors and peer, she co-authored a paper titled “Nutrition Risk Screening Methods for Adults Living with Severe Mental Illness – A Scoping Review” which highlights the need for further research to develop new or validate existing screening methods for adults living with severe mental illness. She hopes to return to research in the future.