Nutrition in critical illness: The importance of Critical care nurses’ knowledge and skills in the nutritional management of patient s requiring intensive care: A literature review.

Background: Critical illness is physiologically debilitating and is affected by the nutritional status of patients. There is a strong relationship between adequate nutritional status and recovery from critical illness. The health care team, nurses in particular, play a major role in the management and maintenance of an optimal nutritional status in patients who are critically ill.

Aims of the review: 1) To examine current evidence regarding the relationship between nutrition and critical illness 2) to examine the relationship between nutritional intake and clinical outcomes of critically ill patients; 3) To determine the role of critical care nurses and the health care team in meeting the nutritional needs of critically ill patients.

Methods: A Computerized search of Google Scholar, CINAHL, ProQuest, Medline, and HINARI was done using key terms. The search was delimited to peer reviewed, full text descriptive and intervention research articles with abstracts, which were reviewed.

Results: Current evidence suggests that there is a strong positive relationship between nutritional status and critical illness. Improved nutritional status is associated with positive clinical outcomes. However, the evidence is inconsistent in supporting this relationship. The healthcare team particularly nurses’ play a major role in the nutritional status of critically ill patients.

Conclusion: Maintaining optimal nutritional status is key to improving clinical outcomes of critically ill patients. Knowledge and skills of the healthcare team in nutritional management and the availability of management protocols are important in maintaining optimal nutrition of critically ill patients.

Publication Year: 
Caribbean Journal of Nursing, 1(1), 49-55.