The impact of enteral feeding protocols on nutritional support in critically ill children

SOURCE: Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): R.Meyer, S.Harrison, S.Sargent, P.Ramnarayan, P.Habibi, D.Labadarios
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6084

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Background: Studies have shown that feeding protocols may assist in achieving optimal nutritional care in critically ill children. The present study aimed to assess the impact of enteral feeding protocols on nutritional support practices through a continuous auditing process over a defined period. Materials and methods: A prospective audit on nutritional practice was initiated in 1994-1995 on all ventilated patients who were admitted for more than a complete 24-h period in the paediatric intensive care unit. The audit was repeated 1997-1998, 2001 and 2005. The collection of data on outcomes included the time taken to initiate nutritional support, the proportion of patients fed via the enteral versus parenteral route, and the proportion of children reaching 50% and 70% of the estimated average requirement (EAR) by day 3. Feeding algorithms and protocols were introduced after each audit with a view to improving practices. Results: Over the study period, time taken to initiate nutrition support was reduced from 15 h (1994-1995), 8 h (1997-1998), 5.5 h (2001) to 4.5 h (2005). The proportion of patients on parenteral feeds was reduced from 11% (1994-1995) to 4% (2005). An increase was also documented in the percentage of patients receiving a daily energy provision of 50% and 70% of the EAR by day 3 after the initiation of nutritional support (6% in 1994-1995 to 21% in 2005 for 70% of EAR). Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that feeding protocols improve nutritional practices in a paediatric intensive care unit. However, protocol introduction needs to be monitored regularly through audit.