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Nestle HealthCare Nutrition and Medical Professionals Unite to Improve Patient Safety
Date:2/3/2009

"Be A.L.E.R.T." Initiative Complements New Tube-Feeding Best-Practice Recommendations

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of their commitment to safety, Nestle HealthCare Nutrition and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, or A.S.P.E.N., today announced the launch of a new initiative to promote safe tube-feeding in hospitals.

The "Be A.L.E.R.T." campaign is designed to raise awareness of key steps that should be taken in order to administer tube feedings more safely and reduce the risk of tubing misconnections. The program complements the A.S.P.E.N. Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations, a comprehensive set of safety guidelines issued this week during Clinical Nutrition Week.

Tubing misconnections caused by human error are a serious problem in our nation's health-care facilities. A leading health-care organization reports that more than 300 people died or suffered serious injury from tubing misconnections between 2000 and 2004. ("Tubing Misconnections: A Perilous Design Flaw," Materials Management in Health Care, November 2006: 36-39.)

"Solving this industry-wide problem requires all of us -- hospitals, health-care professionals, regulators, quality improvement groups and manufacturers -- to work together to raise awareness, implement design change and create the tools that nurses and others need to provide the highest-quality care possible," said Carol Siegel, MS, RD, manager of professional services at Nestle HealthCare Nutrition, a unit of Nestle Nutrition. "This new education initiative is a significant step forward in our ongoing effort to improve patient safety."

Numerous safety organizations and advocates have called for manufacturers of medical products to minimize misconnection risk in the design of their products. In response, Nestle recently introduced SpikeRight(TM), a new port for closed-system feeding containers designed to reduce the risk of misconnection with an intravenous site. SpikeRight uses a screw-top design that connects with compatible enteral administration sets.

Referred to as "tube feeding," enteral nutrition is the delivery of nutrients through a tube to the stomach or small intestine when a patient is too ill to eat enough; has a decreased appetite; difficulty in swallowing; or has had surgery that interferes with the ability to eat.

"The 'Be A.L.E.R.T.' program is critically important because it provides health-care professionals with a guide that supports safe feeding at the patient's bedside," said Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, CNSN, director for clinical practice, advocacy and research affairs at A.S.P.E.N. "We are thrilled to be a part of this program. It is a great complement to our new Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations."

"Be A.L.E.R.T."

The "Be A.L.E.R.T." campaign provides bedside caregivers with a reminder of five key practices that nurses should follow to help improve patient safety when administering a tube feeding. The five steps -- spelling out the "A.L.E.R.T." acronym -- are:

Aseptic technique

Label enteral equipment

Elevate head of bed when clinically possible

Right patient, right formula, right tube -- the three Rs

Trace all lines and tubing back to patient

A poster will be made available to hospitals across the country illustrating these simple steps and will be distributed during Clinical Nutrition Week. Program materials are now available to download free of charge from www.nutritioncare.org/safety.

A.S.P.E.N.'s Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations

A.S.P.E.N. developed The Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations to share with the multidisciplinary teams responsible for delivering enteral nutrition -- including clinicians, administrators, educators and researchers, the health-care community, patients and their caregivers -- in an effort to mitigate adverse enteral-nutrition-related events. Further objectives include aggregating expert opinion -- based on current knowledge and best practices -- to formulate evidence-based recommendations.

The specific topics covered in the recommendations include:

  • Ordering and Labeling of Enteral Nutrition
  • Enteral Formula (Medical Foods) and Infant Formula Regulation
  • Water and Enteral Formula Safety and Stability
  • Enteral Access
  • Enteral Nutrition Administration
  • Medication Administration
  • Monitoring Enteral Nutrition Administration

The A.S.P.E.N. Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations can be found at www.nutritioncare.org/safety.

About A.S.P.E.N.

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition-support therapy. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 5,500 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition-support clinical practice, research and education.

About SpikeRight(TM)

In response to calls by leading patient-safety organizations for manufacturers of medical products to minimize misconnection risk in the design of their products, Nestle introduced SpikeRight, an enteral-specific port with a screw-top design that reduces compatibility with IV sets. Launched last year, SpikeRight is non-proprietary and can be used by any manufacturer. As part of its ongoing commitment to safety, Nestle is offering the SpikeRight design free to all other enteral and administration set manufacturers.

Nestle HealthCare Nutrition, one of the four businesses of Nestle Nutrition, offers complete nutritional solutions for people with specific illnesses, disease states or the special challenges of different life stages. The company offers one of the most comprehensive ranges of nutritional-support products in the marketplace.

Nestle Nutrition helps to enhance the quality of life by supporting health and providing care for people with special nutrition needs at every stage of life. Nestle Nutrition is built around four core businesses: Infant Nutrition, HealthCare Nutrition, Performance Nutrition and Weight Management. For more information about Nestle Nutrition, please consult: www.nestlenutrition.com.


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SOURCE Nestle HealthCare Nutrition, Inc.
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