Why do we need to measure nutritional care?

Measurement helps us prove we have made a difference, and identify where change or intervention is needed. Without it, we run the risk of good work being lost under the burden of poor evidence. The BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool offers a unique opportunity to support local organisations in measuring and evidencing their nutritional improvement work in high priority areas.  We envisage this will become an important source of an organisation’s evidence to provide assurance to the regulators of compliance to Regulation 14.

BAPEN produces a wide range of tools, resources and guidelines designed to help healthcare professionals in hospitals, care homes and the community prevent malnutrition occurring when possible and treat it properly when it does occur.  BAPEN’s publications and resources are available on the BAPEN website.  Many are available to download as PDF files and some printed publications can be ordered online in the BAPEN online shop.  http://www.bapen.org.uk/professionals/publications-and-resources/bapen-reports

What underpins the BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool?

There are a number of key principles that provide the foundation for measurement using the BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool:

  • Measurement will be undertaken with a true ‘measurement for improvement’ ethos and not used for judgement or punitive purposes
  • Measurement will be undertaken to support learning and spread of best practice through sharing and publication, but not benchmarking unless there is a request from members to do so when the dataset is sufficiently large and robust.
  • We will gather just as much data as is required to identify change and ensure that any additional data collection burden is kept to a minimum

What will happen to the data we enter?

One of the key elements of our approach to measurement using the BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool is to share data and encourage you to utilise your data locally to identify areas for improvement and drive conversations about change and how it can be achieved.  The BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool looks to support this vision by using simple visualisations of the data collected to help you to answer two key questions:

1. Are we making improvements in nutritional care?
2. What is the variation in nutritional care in our system?

To help us do this, we have developed a simple dashboard which shows key measures in the form of run charts and funnel plots  for each organisation.    We are fully committed to the open and transparent agenda and therefore  therefore you can see the data for all organisations who submit information using the BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool; this is because we want to encourage sharing and peer support in analysing and understanding the data.  Please note that there are no comparisons or league tables shown and these will not be added; this is because the BAPEN Nutritional Care Tool was designed for measuring improvement and not for making judgements.

Approaching measurement in this way requires a mindset change and a move away from the traditional methods of 'performance management' and data collection for accountability.  BAPEN hopes that by developing a mature and collegiate approach to data collection and analysis the nutritional care community can begin to focus on and highlight the critical issues in nutritional care and work together to deliver improvements.