Malnutrition Worsens COVID 19 Outcomes: Extra Attention Is Needed In Aged Care

April 15, 2020

Guidelines were released last week on nutritional management of patients with COVID 19 by the world peak body in this area: The European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ESPEN)…

Guidelines were released last week on nutritional management of patients with COVID 19 by the world peak body in this area: The European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ESPEN)

They stress that: “malnutrition leads to worse long term outcomes and higher chance of death” in patients with the virus.

At any time when prolonged hospital admission is necessary, especially in the ICU, great care must be taken to avoid patients becoming malnourished, but this is even more vital with this virus.  

COVID 19 causes respiratory distress and that makes eating challenging even in its early stages: as individuals increasingly struggle to achieve air intake, eating is usually minimal  and when ventilation is required, it’s impossible.  At such times specialised nutrition interventions such as tube feeding are essential so that people get the nutrition needed to survive and recover.

Even those with so called ‘mild symptoms’ may lose their sense of smell, which also impacts the taste of food and appetite can be severely impacted. If that should happen in those who are being cared for at home, it is vital that nutrition guidance is part of the assistance offered to ensure that malnutrition doesn’t increase their risk of dire outcomes further.  

For people in aged care, ensuring malnutrition is avoided is always essential, but is especially relevant at this time. Everyone needs their immune systems working at peak capacity to fight off the virus and to help minimise its impact should they encounter it. While Eat To Cheat Ageing is not specifically written about dealing with this virus, its content is especially relevant - offering sensible, practical guidance on eating to avoid illness and live as well as possible into your later years.

  • Eat good protein
  • Gets as many different colours on your plate as you can
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Get whatever exercise you can manage
  • Wash your hands and stay at home

Eat well and Stay safe everyone.

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