Dietitian and nutrition-related practices and resources in Australian and New Zealand PICUs: A clinician survey

Jacinta Winderlich, Bridget Little, Felix Oberender, Tamara Farrell, Samantha Jenkins, Emma Landorf, Jessica Menzies, Katie O'Brien, Carla Rowe, Kirsten Sim, Melanie van der Wilk, Jemma Woodgate, Andrew A. Udy, Emma J. Ridley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Recommendations to facilitate evidence-based nutrition provision for critically ill children exist and indicate the importance of nutrition in this population. Despite these recommendations, it is currently unknown how well Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) are equipped to provide nutrition care. Objectives: The objectives of this project were to describe the dietitian and nutrition-related practices and resources in ANZ PICUs. Methods: A clinician survey was completed as a component of an observational study across nine ANZ PICUs in June 2021. The online survey comprised 31 questions. Data points included reporting on dietetics resourcing, local feeding-related guidelines and algorithms, nutrition screening and assessment practices, anthropometry practices, and indirect calorimetry (IC) device availability and local technical expertise. Data are presented as frequency (%), mean (standard deviation), or median (interquartile range). Results: Survey responses were received from all nine participating sites. Dietetics staffing per available PICU bed ranged from 0.01 to 0.07 full-time equivalent (median: 0.03 [interquartile range: 0.02–0.04]). Nutrition screening was established in three (33%) units, all of which used the Paediatric Nutrition Screening Tool. Dietitians consulted all appropriate patients (or where capacity allowed) in six (66%) units and on a request or referral basis only in three (33%) units. All units possessed a local feeding guideline or algorithm. An IC device was available in two (22%) PICUs and was used in one of these units. Conclusions: This is the first study to describe the dietitian and nutrition-related practices and resources of ANZ PICUs. Areas for potential improvement include dietetics full-time equivalent, routine nutrition assessment, and access to IC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-494
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Calorimetry
  • Critical care
  • Dietitians
  • Indirect
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Paediatric

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