A poor nutritional status contributes to the risk for pressure ulcers in many patients.

Indicators of a nutritional problem that could contribute to the formation of a pressure ulcer:

(1) inadequate protein and energy intake

(2) low triceps skinfold measurement

(3) low serum albumin

(4) low serum prealbumin

(5) low serum cholesterol

(6) low hemoglobin (anemia)


Patient's at risk for malnutrition:

(1) anorexia

(2) dysphagia, difficulty swallowing or difficulty feeding

(3) excessive protein loss (nephrotic syndrome, effusions, etc)

(4) high caloric needs (fever, critical illness, etc)

(5) unintended weight loss (> 10% of normal body weight over 6 months or > 5% in past month)

(6) morbidly obese


A patient who is at risk for malnutrition should

(1) be evaluated for pressure ulcer risk

(2) be started on nutritional supplements giving an adequate protein intake

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