Optimising nutritional intake of people with pressure ulcers

Tips for nursing staff are a reminder of the link between diet and skin viability.

Tips for nursing staff are a reminder of the link between diet and tissue viability

Personalised care plans with diet information should be the nurse’s standard response to the needs of people with pressure ulcers, NHS Improvement said.

A balanced diet is key to skin health and wound healing. Picture: iStock

The regulator worked with specialist nutrition nurses and dietitians to produce a list of tips to promote tissue viability. They are:

  • Ensuring carbohydrates and protein are present in each meal, to help to prevent skin breakdown and improve wound healing.
  • Encouraging patients to consume 1.5 litres of fluid, including water, tea, milk and juice, each day.
  • Nurses should ensure patients with a poor appetite or who need an energy boost eat little and often, with snacks including cheese and biscuits and full-fat dairy items.
  • Removing visible fat from meals of individuals who are overweight or obese, while high-sugar foods and fizzy drinks should be avoided.
  • Providing adapted cutlery and crockery to patients who struggle to eat independently, and giving assistance when it is needed.

NHS Improvement executive director of nursing Ruth May said: ‘Good nutrition is vital to ensuring patients have healthy skin and are therefore less susceptible to developing pressure ulcers.’

Pressure ulcers affect around 700,000 people per year at a cost to the NHS of £3.8 million, according to NHS Improvement data.

Further information

Five top tips to prevent pressure ulcers – NHS Improvement

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