Background and aims ‘Treat the patient not just the disease’ is guiding principle of holistic health. Malnutrition in children has serious consequences to health as well as economy in the long term. We studied the prevalence and treatment of Malnutrition in children admitted to surgical wards.
Methods Retrospective study of 100 randomly selected medical records out of 980 patients of age <5 yrs. admitted in Surgical wards from 2009–2013. Socio-demographic data, nutritional parameters, clinical profile and nutritional rehabilitation status were audited. Four files were misplaced/active during the study and could not be audited.
Results Most patients were from general surgery ward (63[65.6%]), males (62[64.6%]) and from rural areas (53[55.2%]). Of the 96 records, 7 (7.3%) and 26 (27.1%) have height and weight respectively and these were noted in Pre Anaesthesia Checkup or Dietary Assessment Chart rather than surgeon’s notes except one case. Nutritional status couldn’t be ascertained by the investigators due to insufficient data in 26 (27.1%) cases. In the remaining 70 (72.9%) cases; malnutrition was present in 27 (28.1%) cases (moderate in 16 (16.7%) and severe in 11 (11.5%)). Nutritional Rehabilitation was required in 42 (43.8%) cases but was not advised or provided. No significant association between malnutrition and socio-demographic profile was observed.
Conclusion The study indicates gender preference in health seeking and also points toward missed opportunities of diagnosis and rehabilitation of malnutrition in children admitted to surgical departments. Checklists to screen for malnutrition and rehabilitative management can improve the holistic management that will help reduce the malnutrition burden.