Learning More About Clinical Nutrition
Expert opinions on the importance of clinical nutrition
During the annual congress of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN), several experts were interviewed to gather their insights into the subject of clinical nutrition, emphasizing its importance. Clinical nutrition is often disregarded in many hospitals in Latin America and according to the experts, we must all work together to take measures ensuring clinical nutrition is properly initiated. Some of the experts that provided thoughts on the subject are:
- Dr. Dan Linetzky Waitzberg, MD, PhD: gastrointestinal surgeon and nutrologist at the School of Medicine at the University of São Paulo, Brazil
- Carolina Méndez Martínez: nutritionist and dietician at the National University of Colombia
- Dr. Karin Papapietro: physician and surgeon at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Chile
The ESPEN Congress is a yearly convention that covers several topics in the fields of parenteral and enteral nutrition and recently gathered more than 3,000 participants from 82 different countries worldwide. In September 2015, Lisbon held the annual ESPEN Congress, in which a series of interviews were conducted with well-known experts from Latin America. Below you will find videos and more insights into these experts’ thoughts and ideas.
What is the role of clinical nutrition in hospitals and how can we best implement it?
Dr. Dan Linetzky Waitzberg:
Clinical malnutrition in Latin America can be attributed to 4 factors, such as a country’s social economic issues, suffering from diseases like cancer, obesity and diabetes, the lack of knowledge regarding the importance of clinical nutrition, or the lack of orientation about appropriate nutrition. We need to understand that medicine or healthcare nowadays is multi-disciplinary and multi-professional. There’s no longer a main figure that directs, there is a group that walks together to improve the health of patients. In this sense, nurses, nutritionists and pharmacists, have a fundamental role along with doctors, psychologists and therapists.
Carolina Méndez Martínez:
Many people in hospitals think clinical nutrition is simply establishing a hospital diet and don’t acknowledge how important it is in patient management. Clinical nutrition must be an integral part of the management. What we do is follow the patient in the metabolic stage and provide appropriate changes according to their needs.
Dr. Karin Papapietro:
In my daily practice, the main focus is to advocate for the importance of clinical nutrition, make hospital and health personnel aware of it and try to create multidisciplinary teams to be able to meet the patient’s nutritional needs. I think there are 2 aspects that can be improved – those are related to human resources and our intervention as health care professionals. We must be able to complement the different aspects so we can meet our patients’ needs in proteins and calories as quickly as possible. We need to have the ability for dynamic intervention – be it oral supplements or enteral nutrition. And when we realise this is not enough, we must complement it with parenteral nutrition.