Malnutrition in adults in hospital settings (MUST) (Guidelines)


The Malnutrition Screening Tool (MUST), as per Mandatory Nursing Assessment documentation, is used to identify patients at risk of malnutrition and the pathway describes appropriate actions to minimise the risk. Many patients are at risk of malnutrition, and often become more malnourished during their hospital stay; this has implications for recovery and quality of life.

  • MUST screening may not be appropriate in exceptional circumstances such as end of Life Care and should not be used in maternity.  This should be documented in the individual’s notes.
  • Referrals for nutritional support to DIETETICS, should only be considered as indicated on these Flow Charts.
  • The pathways provide guidance on actions once MUST screening has been carried out.
  • Each individual must have a documented plan of care using the standard nursing documentation that is informed by: 
    • This pathway
    • The Activities for Living Assessment: Eating and Drinking
    • And must include patient likes, dislikes and person centered goals and interventions in regards to eating and drinking.

The following assessments are available and can be carried out as required:

  • Oral Health Assessment
  • Eating and Drinking Risk Assessment

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 30/06/2020

Next review date: 30/06/2023

Author(s): Food, Fluid and Nutritional Care Group.

Approved By: TAM subgroup of ADTC

Reviewer name(s): Lorna Carrol, Advanced Dietetic Practitioner.

Document Id: TAM448