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National Nutrition Month

March 10, 2021 | Paragon Home Infusion

Written by Mary Bottcher, MS, RD, CNSC, LD
This month is National Nutrition Month, a time dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles through educated food choices, eating habits, and physical activity. 
Read the full article to learn more.
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This month is National Nutrition Month, a time dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles through educated food choices, eating habits, and physical activity. Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the studied experts in nutrition, and National Nutrition Month recognizes and celebrates them as the essential providers of nutrition education and services. While food and eating habits are crucial, many people cannot eat or absorb food properly due to a disease process or medical condition.

 

Nutrition support therapy may be necessary when a person cannot swallow, is severely malnourished, or cannot absorb nutrients through their digestive system. In these cases, nutrition support through tube feeding or Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) can be utilized to provide adequate nutrition while bypassing part or all of the GI tract.  

 

 

What is Tube Feeding?

 

Tube feeding can be utilized for patients who cannot eat by mouth or swallow but have a functioning lower GI tract. Patients facing this nutrition obstacle can receive the nutrition support they need from the “enteral formula” provided through a feeding tube. This formula provides calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water, just like food. A feeding tube can be placed directly into the stomach or small intestine, and tube feeding formula can be poured or pumped through the tube to provide nutrition for the patient.

 

 

How Long Does a Patient Have to Be Tube Fed?

 

The patient’s Enteral Nutrition Team and following RD works directly with the doctor to determine the care plan and how long a patient will have the feeding tube. Sometimes the feeding tube is placed for permanent use, and sometimes it is short-term while the patient undergoes therapy for swallowing, awaits surgery, or recovers function of the stomach and intestines.

 

 

What is Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN)?

 

TPN is a form of intravenous (IV) nutrition utilized for patients who cannot use their GI tract. The central IV line is inserted through the patient’s arm or chest, and the TPN is infused directly into a main artery that pumps the solution into the patient’s bloodstream. TPN provides a patient with fluid, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. It is essential to understand that although nutrition does not look the same for everyone, it is equally important to every living being.

 

 

How Long Does a Patient Have to be on TPN?

 

The length of time that a patient is on TPN is determined based on their medical condition. Some people are on TPN for a few weeks, while others require TPN therapy for a lifetime. If a patient can eat or return to eating, the TPN will be discontinued once they can consistently meet their nutritional needs from food.

 

Our goal at Paragon Healthcare is to provide our patients with the nutrition support they need to meet their medical goals while at the same time empowering them to continue living their lives.

 

All of our nutrition support patients are followed and managed by specialized dietitians. Our dietitians create customized nutrition care plans to fit each patients’ lifestyle. Patients on tube feeds or TPN are not stuck to an IV pole or in a hospital bed while they are on our service. Instead, our patients are at home with mobile equipment that allows them to be with their loved ones while working, going to school, or vacationing. The pumps provided by our pharmacy team weigh less than a pound and are small enough to go inside of a backpack. Our team collaborates with the patient’s physician, hospital, and/or outpatient clinic to bridge a smooth transition to the home setting. Each patient and caregiver are then educated on the equipment, empowering them to take charge of their care, and become independent with the therapy.

 

National Nutrition Month helps spread awareness about nutrition support while also celebrating all of the challenges that our patients overcome daily. For more information about National Nutrition Month, visit https://www.eatright.org/.

 

For more information about Paragon Healthcare and our Nutrition Support Program, visit our website at https://paragonhealthcare.com/home-infusion/.

 

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The Paragon Healthcare, Inc. blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or someone you know has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional treatment because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.
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