Back to basics: An audit of measurement of infant growth at presentation to hospital
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Objectives: Infants who present or are admitted to hospital with illness or with inadequate growth and development are those most at risk of decreased nutritional status. However, not all infants who present or are admitted to hospital have their growth assessed. The aim of the present study was to identify how frequently anthropometric measurements were documented in charts of infants presenting and/or admitted to a tertiary paediatric hospital. Methods: A systematic random sample of hospital charts of infants who had presented to the emergency department between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012 was audited retrospectively for the presence of appropriate documentation of measurement. Results: In all, 465 charts were audited, representing 10% of infants who presented to the emergency department in the year. The frequency of anthropometric measures was: birthweight 103 (22%), presentation weight 275 (59%), length 8 (2%), head circumference 15 (3%), percentiles 27 (6%) and body mass index score 1 (0%). Age of the infant was significantly associated with recording of birthweight. There were no significant relationships found between gender, socioeconomic status, gestational age, delivery type and recording of diagnosis and birthweight. Conclusions: Infant measurements were not recorded on many occasions. Assessment of growth as a marker of illness or nutritional deficit has been poorly assessed in this group. This is a missed opportunity to assess infant growth in this population, which has been found to be at risk of decreased nutritional status. Identification and treatment of growth deficits are a cost-effective method of optimising infant health worldwide. What is known about this topic?: Infants who present or are admitted to hospital with illness or with inadequate growth and development are those most at risk of decreased nutritional status. What does this paper add?: Not all infants who present or are admitted to hospital have their growth assessed. What are the implications for practitioners?: It is important in a paediatric setting to identify who is responsible for measuring and recording infant growth. Measurement of weight, height and head circumference is a basic, low-cost method of measuring infant growth in the hospital setting.
Australian Health Review
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