Peacock Scholarship

The Impact of an Enteral Feeding Protocol on Nutritional Support in Critically Ill, Mechanically Ventilated Patients

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Although proper nutrition has been found to be an essential factor in health maintenance and restoration in the critically ill patient, research has indicated that this population often falls victim to malnutrition while in the intensive care unit (ICU). Malnutrition has been associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and length of stay. Conversely, early initiation of nutritional support has been associated with reduced mortality and morbidity, decreased length of stay, lower rates of infection, and decreased time on mechanical ventilation. Enteral feeding protocols have been found to combat the risk of malnutrition in the critically ill, mechanically ventilated patient, with data suggesting that they may reduce time to feeding initiation, reduce interruptions, and reduce time to reaching goal feeding rates. The goal of this project was to develop an enteral feeding protocol for critically ill, mechanically ventilated patients in a local community hospital based on evidence collected and to measure the impact of this protocol on enteral feeding initiation, advancement to goal rate, and length of stay. While a reduction in time to enteral feeding initiation (p = 0.158) and decreased length of stay (p = 0.861) was found with the introduction of the protocol, the impact was not statistically significant. However, significant reduction in time to enteral feeding goal rate achievement was found (p = 0.004). Based on this data, in addition to research reviewed, it has been concluded that the use of enteral nutritional protocols should be standard in all ICUs in an attempt to improve outcomes and minimize complications among the critically ill, mechanically ventilated patient

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  • 10/26/2023
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