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Guidance to 'combat' malnutrition in COPD patients

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A “practical” guide has been launched to assist healthcare professionals in identifying and managing people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who are at risk of disease-related malnutrition.

The guide – titled Managing Malnutrition in COPD – has been developed by a multi-professional panel with expertise and an interest in malnutrition and COPD.

“Nurses play a key role in the treatment of patients with COPD”

Michaela Bowden

It is endorsed by 10 professional and patient organisations including the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, the Royal College of Nursing, and the National Nurses Nutrition Group.

According to those behind the guidance, it is based on clinical experience and evidence alongside accepted best practice.

The guidance also includes a pathway for the appropriate use of oral nutritional supplements, or “sip feeds”, to support community staff and is complemented by three colour-coded patient leaflets.

The leaflets are designed to provide practical advice according to risk category – green for low risk, yellow for medium risk, and red for high risk.

The document represents an updated version of the Respiratory Healthcare Professionals Nutritional Guidelines for COPD Patients which were developed in 2011.

It has been revised to complement the Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community guidelines, which were launched in 2012, and is available to be download for free via the malnutrition pathway website.

Michaela Bowden, lead respiratory nurse for quality and development at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and a member of the panel that drew up the document, said: “Nurses play a key role in the treatment of patients with COPD.

“These guidelines will assist them in assessing the nutritional status of patients, putting appropriate nutritional care plans in place and referring on for dietetic input when required,” she said. “They also provide advice on frequency of review and follow-up.”


Guidance to ‘combat’ malnutrition in COPD patients

Matthew Hodson

Matthew Hodson, chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, said identifying and managing malnutrition were “key to better outcomes and quality of life” for COPD patients.

“Nurses and other healthcare professionals involved in treatment of patients with COPD will find the management pathway and the pathway for using oral nutritional supplements invaluable in assisting them in identifying and managing this treatable condition,” he said.

It is estimated that around 21% of individuals with COPD – up to 630,000 people in the UK – are at risk of malnutrition.

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