Providing nutritional support for the patient with COVID-19
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (World Health Organization (WHO), 2020).
Most people who it affects will experience mild-to-moderate respiratory symptoms and should recover. However, as we are sadly aware, some people will experience severe respiratory symptoms and many will be admitted to hospital very ill, in respiratory failure, needing specialised support and care.
Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, it is not possible to write specific nutritional guidance for these patients, so the best way is to manage their nutrition as you would treat any patient with severe respiratory disease.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) (2020a) has developed useful and pragmatic guidance for dietitians to follow. However, what about the nursing staff who will be caring for these patients? How can we ensure that our patients continue to be well nourished during this time of isolation?
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