Scientific article
Open access

Easy-to-prescribe nutrition support in the intensive care in the era of COVID-19

Published inClinical nutrition ESPEN, vol. 39, p. 74-78
Publication date2020-10

Background & aims: COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in a massive increase in the number of patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). This created significant organizational challenges including numerous non-specialist ICU caregivers who came to work in the ICU. In this context, pragmatic protocols were essential to simplify nutritional care. We aimed at providing a simple and easy-to-prescribe nutritional protocol and evaluated its usefulness with questionnaires sent to physicians involved in the care of ICU COVID-19 patients.

Methods: A simplified nutrition protocol was distributed to all physicians (n = 122) of the ICU medical team during COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical dieticians estimated energy targets for acute and post-acute phases at patient's admission and suggested adaptations of nutrition therapy. More complex situations were discussed with clinical nutrition doctors and, if required, a clinical evaluation was performed. To further facilitate the procedure, a chart with prescription aids was also distributed to the whole medical ICU team. At the end of the current pandemic wave, a 13-item questionnaire was emailed to the ICU medical team to obtain their opinion on the suggested nutritional therapy.

Results: Answers were received from 81/122 medical doctors (MDs) (66% response rate), from intensive care physicians (41%), anaesthesiologists (53%) and MDs from other specialties (6%). Thirty-two percent of MDs felt that their knowledge of nutrition management was insufficient and 45% of the physicians surveyed did not face nutrition management in their daily practice prior to the pandemic. The initially proposed nutritional protocol, the chart with prescription aids and the suggested nutritional proposals were considered as useful to very useful by the majority of physicians surveyed (89.9, 90.7 and 92.1% respectively). The protocol was followed by 92% of MDs, and almost all participants (95%) were convinced that adaptations of nutritional therapy had beneficial effects on patients' outcomes.

Conclusions: Nutritional therapy in critically ill COVID-19 patients is a challenge and the implementation of this specific pandemic simplified nutritional protocol was assessed as useful by a great majority of physicians. Pragmatic and simplified protocols are useful for ensuring the quality of nutritional therapy and could be used in future studies to assess its actual impact on the clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients.

  • COVID-19
  • Critical illness
  • ICU
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Pandemic
  • Questionnaire
Citation (ISO format)
DE WATTEVILLE, Aude Isabelle et al. Easy-to-prescribe nutrition support in the intensive care in the era of COVID-19. In: Clinical nutrition ESPEN, 2020, vol. 39, p. 74–78. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.07.015
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ISSN of the journal2405-4577

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Creation12/07/2021 12:45:00 PM
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