Renal dietitians’ perceptions of the value of Subjective Global Assessment

Shelly Messenger

Purpose: Use of Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) to assess nutrition status by renal dietitians in Canada is low, but detailed rationale is limited. To assess how renal dietitians’ in Canada perceive the value of SGA to assess protein-energy wasting for clients with chronic kidney disease.

Methods: A sequential exploratory mixed method approach included focus groups (n=6, 8) and a national survey (n=54).

Findings: Five main themes (consistency, organizational/environment, confidence, interpretation and education) emerged. Dietitians support using a tool to provide a standardized process to nutrition assessment and feel SGA is an effective educational tool; however, barriers such as time, privacy, confidence, interpretation and subjectivity limit SGA use.

Conclusion: Educators and administrators are encouraged to communicate the use of SGA results and provide education opportunities focusing on hands-on physical assessment. In some situations, an alternative validated version of SGA or screening tool may be appropriate.