What is the FNST?

The Feeding and Nutrition Screening Tool (FNST) is a validated screening tool1 that can be used to identify children with cerebral palsy (CP) who may have feeding/swallowing difficulties, who require further assessment and who may benefit from nutritional support. The FNST comprises of four simple questions that can be completed by a parent/caregiver.

Who is the FNST for?

The FNST is validated for use in children with CP aged 2 – 19 years and the tool can be completed independently by a parent/caregiver.

What is the importance of the FNST?

CP is one of the most common causes of physical disability in childhood with a worldwide prevalence of 2.11 per 1000 live births.2

Good nutrition is essential for children with cerebral palsy (CP) to reach their potential for growth and development. Some children with CP may have difficulty gaining weight, due to a number of reasons including difficulty consuming enough nutrition to meet individual needs and eating/drinking in a safe way.

Feeding and swallowing difficulties, poor nutritional status and poor growth may impact detrimentally on the child’s physical and cognitive development, health care utilisation, participation and quality of life.

Detailed nutrition and feeding/swallowing assessment methods however, are frequently too lengthy and resource intensive to be completed for all children with CP.

A screening tool to identify those children with CP who are at risk of feeding difficulties or undernutrition is therefore required, in order to help identify the children with CP who require a full nutritional and feeding/swallowing assessment.

What happens once the FNST has been completed?

Following completion of the questionnaire, for those children identified as at risk (score higher than 3), a full assessment should be conducted by the relevant healthcare professionals to determine the presence and severity of feeding and swallowing difficulties and/or undernutrition which will lead to the provision of appropriate clinical care. For more information, click on one of the following options.

Would you like more information on nutritional management of children with Cerebral Palsy? Go to www.nutricia.com

1. Bell, K.L., Benfer, K.A., Ware, R.S., Patrao, T.A., Garvey, J.J., Arvedson, J.C., Boyd, R.N., Davies, P.S. and Weir, K.A., 2019. Development and validation of a screening tool for feeding/swallowing difficulties and undernutrition in children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

2. Oskoui, M., et al., An update on the prevalence of cerebral palsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 2013. 55(6): p. 509-519.

Resource Library

Get access to the latest content on addressing malnutrition in Cerebral Palsy patients.