Malnutrition is still one of the most important and common problems in hospitals and increases the incidence, side effects, and mortality in hospitalized patients. In this regard, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients are more at risk due to critical conditions.
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of nurses’ nutritional guidelines on the severity of malnutrition in ICU patients.
This single-blind clinical trial was conducted on 70 patients hospitalized in the ICU of Golestan and Imam Khomeini hospitals in Ahwaz in 2012. Available patients were randomly divided into the control and intervention groups. The data collection tool was a checklist of demographic data and the Maastricht index for malnutrition assessment. Patients were evaluated based on the Maastricht index at baseline and 10 days after feeding.
There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of demographic variables. Mean and standard deviation of albumin, pre-albumin, and lymphocyte parameters before the intervention were 3.13 ± 0.571, 1.28 ± 0.31, 1638.2 ± 489.59, whereas, after the intervention, they were 536 3.32 ± 3.88, 1.88 ± 0.36, 2195 ± 40.85, respectively. Also, the amount of malnutrition intensity by the Maastricht formula before and after the intervention was 4.89 ± 2.17 and 2.00 ± 2.10, at a significance level of 0.001. Regarding the normal distribution of data, using the T-test, two groups showed significant differences (P = 0.001).
The prevalence of malnutrition is high in patients admitted to the ICUs, which is mainly due to inappropriate nutrition of patients in these sectors. Although nurses play a significant role in feeding patients, their knowledge in this field is less than needed. According to the results of this study, the use of the guideline by nurses reduced the severity of malnutrition. Therefore, it is essential to create the necessary backgrounds for increasing the knowledge of this group of treatment staff and to educate valid nutrition guides for them to improve the nutritional status, and subsequently accelerate the treatment process of the patients.
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