Get up to speed in management, monitoring, and complications
- By: Anjali Manuel, Nick D Maynard
Junior doctors commonly encounter patients who are receiving nutritional support. The management of these patients demands a clear understanding of nutritional support and the rationale behind prescribing for and monitoring patients.
Malnutrition contributes to higher patient mortality, morbidity, hospital stay, and hospital costs as well as poorer quality of life.1 The British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition recently highlighted the need for better understanding of malnutrition, with a quarter of adults admitted to nursing homes and hospitals at risk.2
The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence describes nutritional support as the provision of more nutrients than that provided by normal dietary intake. Oral supplementation, enteral feeding, and parenteral nutrition are methods of providing nutritional support (fig 1).3
Patients who are malnourished or are at risk of malnourishment, should receive nutritional support. A patient is considered malnourished if his or her body mass index (weight in kilograms divided