Feeding and Nutrition Screening Tool (FNST): first scientifically validated online screening tool for children with cerebral palsy

A recent study called “Purple-N” highlights that there is a gap between the perceived and objective nutritional status of children with cerebral palsy (CP) by both healthcare professionals and caregivers. This important new finding highlights the increased importance of nutritional screening to ensure these children get the nutritional intake they need to grow.

Living with CP and risks of malnutrition

17 million people across the world are living with cerebral palsy1 (CP) making it the most common cause of physical disability in childhood. CP is caused by damage to the brain during pregnancy, around birth, or shortly after, affecting the part of the brain that controls movement, balance and posture. The manifestation of CP can affect an individual’s speech and oral-motor function and impair a child’s ability to chew or swallow. These feeding and digestion difficulties hampers these children to consume necessary nutrients2 and therefore, put them at risk of malnutrition.

As of today, 1/3 of children with cerebral palsy are undernourished3 with 2/3 having feeding and swallowing difficulties4. Ensuring these children meet their required nutritional intake can be very challenging, especially for children with more complex needs5 and can put a burden on the quality of life of these families.

Nonetheless, malnutrition in patients with CP is associated with increased health care use, limited participation in social activities for the child and the parents, stunting, diminished bone health and even a decreased motor function5. Detecting feeding difficulties at the early stage is important to decrease the risk of malnutrition and ensure these children get the nutritional intake they need to grow.

Identify risk of malnutrition to ensure optimal nutritional intake

Accurately measuring the nutritional status of these patients is essential to ensure these children get the nutritional intake they need to grow. That’s why Nutricia developed an online screening tool called the Feeding and Nutrition Screening Tool (FNST), the first scientifically validated online screening tool for early identification of feeding/swallowing difficulties and undernutrition in children with CP. By answering only four questions, this tool can help parents to identify risk of undernutrition and feeding/swallowing difficulties and help ensure children get adequate nutrition to meet their needs. FNST is already available in six languages (English, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, French, Persian) with three more languages (Polish, Spanish-Argentinian, Norwegian) will be coming soon.

For those interested in this tool, start screening now by clicking on the below image or by visiting FNST at www.feedingnutritionscreeningtool.com. Children identified as at risk would need to have a full nutritional or feeding assessment by the relevant health care professional/s.

Child cerebral palsy smiles with sister

Feeding difficulties in children with cerebral palsy

Children with cerebral palsy often have difficulties with feeding and swallowing. These can cause children to become underweight and undernourished...

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