Oral Presentations

O-13: Assessing Nutrition Risk in the Community: A Pilot Workshop Connecting Pharmacists and Dietitians

Dr. Cynthia Richard

Cynthia Richard*,
Catherine Joyes,
Rosemary Killeen,
Christine Wellington,
Janet Madill

University Of Waterloo
School of Pharmacy


Topic: Knowledge Translation

According to the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force, almost half of patients entering hospital are malnourished. Given the high prevalence of malnutrition and its impact on morbidity and mortality, there is a need to educate healthcare professionals on the risks of malnutrition and tools that can be used to identify individuals at risk for malnutrition. As the most accessible healthcare professionals, pharmacists are in an ideal situation to provide nutrition screening. Therefore, the Nutrition Project Team of the SouthWestern Academic Health Network (SWAHN) created a pilot workshop for pharmacists to increase their awareness of malnutrition, nutrition screening and assessment tools, and community resources for nutrition support and to provide an opportunity for collaboration with registered dietitians.

A three hour pilot workshop was held at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy on March 21, 2018. Community pharmacists were invited via local pharmacy group email lists and social media. Dietitians working in various locations including family health teams, public health departments, grocery stores and private practice were directly invited. Didactic sessions delivered by registered dietitians focused on malnutrition in the elderly and offered validated tools for nutrition screening and assessment, strategies for implementing nutrition screening in the community, and community resources for providing nutrition support. Breakout discussions were used to identify enablers and barriers to implementing nutrition screening in practice. Immediately following the workshop, participants were invited to complete a survey designed to evaluate the workshop and to provide suggestions for future events. Ethics approval for this study was obtained from the University of Waterloo Office of Research Ethics (and subsequently through the Research Ethics Offices of Western University and the University of Windsor).

In total, 11 individuals (6 pharmacists, 4 dietitians, 1 other) attended the pilot workshop. The survey was completed by eight workshop participants for a 73% response rate. Using a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly disagree), participants indicated that the event increased their knowledge and awareness of the prevalence and impact of malnutrition in seniors (4.6), nutrition screening and assessment tools (4.8), and available community resources for patient nutrition support (4.5). Furthermore, participants felt encouraged to implement nutrition screening or assessment in their workplace (4.7). Five out of eight participants indicated that they planned to implement nutrition screening and/or assessment in their workplace. Participants indicated they appreciated the structure of the event, but would have preferred a shorter session.

Conclusions and Next Steps
The pilot workshop was well received by pharmacists and dietitians who attended. A follow-up survey will be administered four months after the event to determine if workshop participants have adopted nutrition screening strategies in their workplace. Future workshops may be held in other geographic locations, and may involve additional healthcare professionals.