Sometimes despite best efforts, it is not always possible to meet nutritional requirements from food alone and prescribed nutritional supplements may need to be considered.
Appropriate identification and treatment of undernutrition reduces the clinical complications associated with undernutrition by 70% and death by 40% (Stratton et al 2003).
Prescribed nutritional supplements have a valuable role in the management of undernutrition when used appropriately.
Focus on Undernutrition recommends before any nutritional supplement is prescribed:
- the individual is identified as high risk of undernutrition using ‘MUST’
- high-risk dietary interventions have been trialled for a month but further weight loss has been identified
- once prescribed nutritional supplements a regular review should be completed by a dietitian or an appropriately trained healthcare professional
Examples of prescribed nutritional supplements include Foodlink Complete, Complan Shake, Ensure Plus, Fortisip Compact, Fresubin Extra.
Focus on Undernutrition has developed a care pathway for the prescribing and monitoring of nutritional supplements in adults in the community.