This chapter addresses the essential nursing responsibility to ensure that adequate nutritional care is offered to all patients, whether in hospital or community-based settings. To provide appropriate nutritional care to patients or clients, nurses must have a good knowledge and understanding of the principles of human nutrition, and be able to deliver nutritional support that is informed by current clinical guidelines and up-to-date evidence, as well as to evaluate that care. Healthcare organizations have a duty to ensure that patients and clients receive high-quality nutritional care. The Council of Europe (2003) has published guidelines on food and nutritional care in hospitals, and a recent Europe-wide campaign has been launched to improve nutritional care in all types of care facility (Ljungqvist et al., 2010). A European strategy to address obesity has also been launched (Commission of the European Communities, 2007). In England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC, 2010), which regulates care settings, has set national standards concerning nutrition. The provision of high-quality nutritional care involves a range of services and requires a multidisciplinary team approach. As a nurse, your role within the multidisciplinary team is fundamental in ensuring the delivery of appropriate nutritional care. In the UK, this is clearly identified by the incorporation of ‘Nutrition and Fluid Management’ within the Essential Skills Clusters for pre-registration nursing education (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2010). Human nutrition is the study of nutrients and their effect on health, and the processes by which individuals obtain nutrients and use them for growth, metabolism, and repair. The term ‘human nutrition’ therefore incorporates many aspects of behaviour and physiology. The way in which the body obtains, ingests, digests, absorbs, and metabolizes nutrients is described in core anatomy and physiology textbooks (for example, Marieb and Hoehn, 2010), and it is important that a good knowledge and understanding of these processes is gained before considering the nursing management of nutritional care. This chapter considers the principles of human nutrition that underpin the nursing management of nutritional care and focuses on the key nursing interventions that you should be able to provide with confidence. The amount and type of nutrients that a person obtains influences his or her ‘nutritional status’.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.