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Nutrition in Wound Healing

Resource to help raise awareness of the role of nutrition in wound healing

Addressing Malnutrition - Oral Nutritional Supplements

Oral nutritional supplements are specially designed supplements such as ‘Fortisip‘ (® Nutricia Clinical), which contain energy and other nutrients. They are often used in order to address malnourishment. However they not first line treatments, and measures such as dietary advice or fortification should where possible be provided first (European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, 2003 and Wright, 2006).

Patients' likes and dislikes should be ascertained as if the patient doesn't like the flavour then they are less likely to use the product and so their condition will not improve. When selecting a product, the prescriber should be aware that some products have high sugar content and so may not be suitable for diabetics. Other nutritional supplements may contain gelatine and so will be unsuitable for vegetarians or those on a Kosher diet (Wright, 2006).

Nutritional supplements are borderline substances and so should only be prescribed by an appropriately trained practitioner (British Medical Association, 2005). Oral nutritional supplements can however be very useful in reducing malnourishment. They come in a variety of makes and flavours, and different types provide different amounts of nutrients so the nutrient can be tailored to the deficiencies that have been identified.

What oral nutritional supplements are patients in your clinical area being provided with? Note its nutritional contents and compare it to another product. Are they the same? Is the product suitable for diabetic patients?

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