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Nutrition Support for Adults: Oral Nutrition Support, Enteral Tube Feeding and Parenteral Nutrition

Nutrition Support for Adults: Oral Nutrition Support, Enteral Tube Feeding and Parenteral Nutrition

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Collaborating Centre for Acute Care (UK)

Version: February 2006

Introduction and methods

Malnutrition is common - many people who are unwell in hospital or the community, are likely to eat and drink less than they need. This impairment of food and fluid intake may be short-lived as part of an acute illness, or prolonged if there are chronic medical or social problems. If impaired food intake persists for even a few days, a patient can become malnourished to a degree that may impair recovery or precipitate other medical problems. This is especially true if the patient was malnourished before they became unwell due to other longstanding medical or psycho-social problems, or a generally poor diet. To compound any disease related reduction in food intake, many patients also have no help with obtaining or preparing meals when they are ill at home, while those in hospital may have further problems relating to poor standards of catering, inappropriate or interrupted meal times, incorrect food consistencies, and inappropriate eating aids and/or staff to help them eat and drink for themselves. The ‘Better Hospital Food’ and the ‘Protected Mealtimes’ plans are welcome government initiatives which try to improve the provision of hospital meals and snacks.

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