Oral nutrition supplements are often recommended by dietitians and GPs when a resident is unable to meet their nutrition requirements through diet alone. There are many reasons why this can occur including poor appetite, difficulty chewing/swallowing, early satiety, disrupted sleep routine, wounds and hospitalisation. They can help meet requirements by providing extra protein, energy, vitamins and minerals within a small dose. So what is a supplement review and why is it needed?
The purpose of a supplement review is to determine:
- How many residents are currently receiving nutrition supplements.
- If supplement use is consistent with dietitian recommendations.
- If the resident still requires a nutrition supplement.
When undertaking a supplement review, the dietitian will assess weight history, food intake, tolerance to current supplements, nutrition requirements and risk of malnutrition. They may gather this information from a variety of sources including medical notes/history, staff, residents and their family. The dietitian will also take into account when the resident was last seen by a dietitian, how long they have been on supplements for, likes/dislikes and whether nutrition requirements can be met in another way.
After the dietitian has completed their nutrition assessment, they will provide recommendations relating to supplement use. Depending on the residents’ unique nutrition requirements, the dietitian may recommend:
- Decreasing/Increasing the dose and frequency of nutrition supplements
- Ceasing nutrition supplements.
- Swapping to a different type of supplement.
- Replacing supplements with a food-based intervention. Eg. High protein Milkshake.
Improved quality of life
Supplements can sometimes have a “medicinal” feel about them which can decrease a resident’s enjoyment of them. Further to this, unnecessary supplement use may decrease their intake at meals and mid meals by filling them up. When supplements are decreased or stopped entirely, it can enable residents to better enjoy their food which can have a positive impact on their quality of life.
Decreased cost to the facility
Oral nutrition supplements can be expensive, especially in comparison to food-based interventions. Some residents may be on multiple supplements for a prolonged period of time which can further drive up costs. By completing a supplement review, the dietitian can prevent unnecessary supplement use and decrease wastage which can significantly reduce costs to the facility.
Reduced flavour fatigue
Residents who have been on nutrition supplements for a prolonged period of time may experience flavour fatigue. In other words, they get sick of the taste! This can lead to decreased adherence to the supplement regime which can lead to increased wastage and burden on staff. By completing a supplement review, the dietitian can determine if there is a suitable alternative for the supplement to improve overall nutrition status.
A supplement review can prevent unnecessary use of supplements. This can improve residents’ quality of life while decreasing costs to the facility. If you require a supplement review, send a request to your Plena Healthcare dietitian.