ONS statistics showing malnutrition contributed to the deaths of 361 people in the UK last year should serve as a warning – nutrition can’t be overlooked in patient care.
Malnutrition can be particularly difficult to spot, especially in frail and elderly patients, but it has a massive impact on people’s ability to fight off infections or cope with major surgery. People with a bowel problem are of course at increased risk of suffering from it, with their gut’s ability to absorb essential nutrients frequently compromised.
Last year, BDRF-funded researchers unveiled the findings of the National Audit of Small Bowel Obstruction (NASBO) with a call for nutritional support to be planned as part of standard care. The team identified numerous failings in current standard practice, with patients’ nutritional status frequently not taken into account when it ought to be an essential part of their care plan.
These findings ring particularly true in the light of these statistics and mean it is increasingly urgent that the NASBO recommendations are acted upon. They also support the case for more research into the area, and with the next phase of the NASBO work already in development, we are calling on all interested specialists to get involved.
Growing interest in gut health and nutrition has seen a recent explosion of studies on how diet and other factors such as gut microbiota affect our wellbeing. The link between good nutrition and successful treatment also warrants further investigation and more research in the area could be life-saving for people at risk.
Read next news item: BDRF research into bowel cancer goes global