EONS Education Projects - EONS - The European Oncology Nursing Society (cancernurse.eu)
EONS15 Symposium Person-centred interprofessional practice in nutrition – from dream to reality will be held on Monday 12 September 12:00-13:30.
Learn more about the role of different health care professionals involved in the nutritional care of people with cancer. Discuss the best ways to embed clinical nutrition guidelines into clinical practice and work together to provide best care for people with cancer. Better understand the experiences of people with cancer and how we can best support to their nutritional needs.
Cancer treatment is a long journey. At each step, adequate nutritional status will support better treatment outcomes & quality of life1-6. Cancer treatments act a trigger of catabolism, leading to weight and muscle loss, that adversely impact clinical outcomes7-10. Early detection and treatment of malnutrition is essential to optimize cancer care11-12.
Nurses play a central role delivering patient centered care throughout the oncology treatment journey, which includes identifying nutritional risk and supporting optimal nutritional management, with medical nutrition when required.
Patients with cancer frequently (30-85%) experience malnutrition and/or cachexia as a result of their disease (e.g. alterations in energy and protein metabolism), and its treatment, with side effects such as taste changes, nausea, low appetite)13-23.
Decreased food intake means that cancer patients are often deficient and/or have an inadequacy in key macro and micronutrients, which can result in significant weight loss, loss of muscle mass (cachexia) and impact physical function. Due to the negative impact of poor nutritional status on treatment tolerance and quality of life, expert and medical guidelines highlight the importance of early management of malnutrition to support patient outcomes during treatment24-31.
Cancer nurses have a central role in the prevention and recognition of malnutrition as well as in the management of situations that might require nutritional support:
The nutrition care process can be described as a few-step process, from screening and assessment of malnutrition to interventions, monitoring and evaluation. Cancer nurses are in a great position to provide support and tailored information for patients with cancer on how to manage nutrition-related challenges through whole journey.
During cancer treatment, patients may develop side effects (such as taste & smell alterations) that have a negative effect on their ability to eat. Oncology nurses can inform patients according to nutritional guidelines , provide nutritional advice , promote self-management, psychosocial support, patient education and coaching. They can , also raise and discuss nutritional issues with the oncologist and the medical team.
To facilitate early identification of nutritional issues, nurses can implement validated malnutrition screening tool that can be used at each patient visit to help identify malnutrition risk at its earliest and most treatable stage. Examples of validated tools include the Malnutrition Screening Tool, NRS-2022, amongst others. Screening is an easy step to implement before conducting nutritional assessment to define patient needs and management strategies.
Nutrition therapy should be an integrative part of cancer care. Oncology nurses have a key role to play in discuss nutritional issues and ensure they are addressed with adequate nutritional advice, nutritional interventions and referral to a dietitian or nutritionist.
Please find below a useful list of resources to inform nurses on nutritional management in cancer:
Please find below a useful list of resources guidelines for nutritional screening, assessment and intervention:
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