Improving Nutrition for Mechanically Ventilated Patients

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 11:05 AM

Corinne Schultz Ellis, DNP, MSN, BSN
School of Nursing, saint Peter's University, Jersey City, NJ

Learning Objective 1: 1.Identify the importance and significance of adequate nutrition for mechanically ventilated patients.

Learning Objective 2: 2. Describe the implementation of an EBP project seeking to improve nutrition to mechanically ventilated patients and discuss project outcomes and recommendations for practice.



Although nutrition plays an important part in positive patient outcomes, many studies have shown that Intensive Care (ICU) patients receive inadequate nutrition. Ventilator dependent ICU patients receive even less nutrition. Impaired nutrition is linked to impaired immune response, impaired ventilatory drive and weakened respiratory muscles. This can lead to prolonged dependence on respirators, increased length of stay, and increased infectious morbidity and mortality. Other complications of poor nutrition include impaired tissue healing, increased physiological stress, and an increase in hospital acquired infections and ulcers.  An evidence-based practice project was implemented consisting of the use of an enteral nutrition feeding protocol for ventilator dependent patients. Pre-intervention data was compared to post-intervention data. Results showed that the use of the enteral nutrition protocol resulted in earlier feeding, as well as more complete feedings of mechanically ventilated patients.