Nutrition Support Team(s) (NST)
Is multi-professional and should include (at least) doctors, nutrition nurse specialist(s), dietitian(s) and pharmacist(s). It should be a role model for multi-professional working. It brings together nutritional experts from medicine/surgery, nursing, dietetics and pharmacy who can co-ordinate the contributions of each of these specialties into coherent nutritional support. It manifestly cannot do all the ward delivery of nutritional care itself, but serves to organise it and enhance it. It becomes particularly involved when there are problems requiring complex artificial nutritional support, especially parenteral nutrition. It may have a specialist role in supporting Home Parenteral Nutrition. The dietitian and pharmacist need to be senior staff and will have a supervisory role within their departments. The team’s operational focus is the safe provision of artificial nutrition but it also has a wider educational remit. It:
- Maintains itself as the principal source of evidence-based information about nutritional assessment and support
- Liaises closely with Nutrition Steering Committee (see above)
- Fosters and provides education, training and research in nutritional screening, assessment, monitoring and nutritional support, for nurses, medical students, doctors, dietitians, pharmacists and managers.
- Develops and audits practical standards of care and organises approaches to nutritional screening, assessment, monitoring and artificial nutrition (eg catheter sepsis rates).
- Is a focus for a multi-professional approach to artificial nutrition and provides co-ordinated medical, pharmaceutical, nursing and dietetic advice on request
- The NST assesses suitability of different feeding routes and advises on alternative treatment options. It particularly directs nutritional care of patients receiving parenteral nutrition or in transition between enteral and parenteral.
- Links to expert capabilities for intravenous catheter and gastrostomy insertion and assists in developing standards for such procedures.
- Provides advice on supplies procurement
- Supports dietitians, particularly in complex enteral feeding cases
- Researches all aspects of artificial nutrition
Nutrition Support Team(s) (NST) Diagram showing areas of responsibilities for the Nutrition Support Team