Nutritional support of the hospitalized patient

The purpose of this project was to develop a text and a set of guidelines concerning nutritional support of the hospitalized patient, and the type of nutritional support these patients require. The objective was to design material that dietetic students, dietitians. and employees of health-care companies (who manufacture and distribute parenteral nutrition solutions) could use in their education or place of employment. Nutritional support of the hospitalized patient has been recognized by medical practitioners as an integral component of treatment for many areas of medicine. The fact still remains, however, that upwards of 50% of the adult hospitalized patient population has poor nutrition status which has been shown to cause increased morbidity and mortality. With the available tool of nutritional assessment (performed by trained professionals), a patient's nutritional status can be screened, treatment can be selected, and the patient can be monitored for progress. Total parenteral nutrition is used whenever a patient is at risk of developing severe nutritional deficits or is already suffering from malnutrition. The therapeutic goals of a parenteral nutrition regimen are to fulfill energy requirements, restore and preserve body tissues and their function, maintain optimal electrolyte, vitamin, mineral, and fluid levels, and to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency. Evaluation of the project involved a panel of four professionals who read the pamphlet and answered a questionnaire. Results were favorable and, in the opinion of this author, these guidelines will be a useful tool for those interested in nutritional support.