Muddu, A. and Stroud, M.A.
The value of a combined multi-disciplinary nutritional gastroenterology clinics in managing patients with intestinal failure and complex nutritional problems.
Frontline Gastroenterology, 1, . (doi:10.1136/fg.2010.002071).
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An increasing number of patients have chronic intestinal failure (IF) or other problems needing nutritional support. These patients need regular input from gastroenterologists, nutrition nurse specialists and dietitians, but traditionally these healthcare professionals see them separately. Here the authors describe their experience of a combined regional nutritional gastroenterology clinic and outline strategies that can avoid the need for home parenteral nutrition (HPN) or intravenous fluids in most cases. Over a 1-year period, 73 patients attended their clinic, with the majority (74%) coming from their own catchment area of 500 000. Of the 63 patients with IF, 49 had short bowel syndrome. 38 of the patients with IF (60%) could be managed with dietary and pharmacological modifications alone, while eight (13%) needed enteral tube feeding and 17 (27%) HPN or intravenous fluids. However, only nine (53%) of the 17 patients referred from other centres specifically for HPN instigation actually needed HPN or intravenous fluids. Patient satisfaction with the combined multidisciplinary clinic was high, with 85% of patients preferring to be seen within this model of outpatient care, although questionnaire response rates were low. The authors have therefore shown that a multidisciplinary nutritional gastroenterology clinic can provide effective patient-centred care and can minimise the need for invasive and costly intravenous nutritional support. Clinics of this type should be an integral part of the current plans to implement regional IF services.
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