Patients discharged from an intensive care unit (ICU) are frequently malnourished and experience ongoing inadequate nutrition intake because of a variety of barriers, which may lead to further declines in nutrition status. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has drawn increased awareness to this vulnerable patient population and the importance of nutrition rehabilitation to promote optimal recovery from acute illness. Despite this, there are no formal guidelines addressing medical nutrition therapy during the post-ICU recovery phase. This review provides an overview of the nutrition management of patients during the post-ICU recovery phase with a specific focus on COVID-19. A case study will demonstrate how medical nutrition therapy improved the nutrition status and quality of life for a patient who became severely malnourished after a prolonged hospitalization for COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19; intensive care unit; malnutrition; medical nutrition therapy; rehabilitation.
© 2021 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.