Nutritional Support Services
Total Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) provides total parenteral and enteral therapy for patients in the comfort of their own homes. Patients referred to MedStar VNA for nutrition therapy will be assigned a personal care team which includes a number of experienced healthcare professionals, including:
- Registered dietician
- Licensed pharmacists
- Registered nurses
The team works with the patient to provide counseling and manage nutritional therapy at home. MedStar VNA’s goal is to educate patients and their loved ones to manage nutritional therapy safely and independently.
Nutritional Care Plan
Total parenteral and enteral nutrition can be administered in the home after careful evaluation to determine whether it is appropriate for the patient. Ensuring patient safety and appropriate care includes the following key components:
- Physician oversight: The patient’s doctor orders the nutritional therapy for the medically stable patient. The doctor will continue overseeing the patient during the course of treatment.
- Collaboration: The registered dietician collaborates with the patient’s doctor, pharmacist and home health nurse to ensure that nutritional goals are consistent for the patient.
- Skilled nursing
- Enteral therapy: A registered nurse will teach patients or their caregivers to prepare and administer enteral nutrition therapy and care for the tube-feeding site. This includes teaching them to connect their enteral nutrition bag and deliver the therapy via syringe, gravity or pump. It also includes education about the signs and symptoms of tube site infection. Our nurses will continue working with the patient or caregiver until they are confident that they can care for themselves.
- Parenteral nutrition: A registered nurse will visit the patient every week for lab work, dressing changes and to ensure the patient or caregiver can perform the therapy. The patient or caregiver will learn to prepare and administer TPN, connect their nutrition bags and inject any necessary medications into the formula. The nurse will also teach them to care for the tube site and recognize signs and symptoms of infection. The goal is to makes sure that nutrition therapy is being administered properly in a clean, safe, home environment
- Ongoing evaluation: The registered dietician reviews the patient’s medical history, laboratory measures, medications, anthropometric measurements and progress notes to identify any issues that may impact optimal nutrient metabolism.
MedStar VNA assists patients to determine their eligibility for nutritional therapy. Coverage of nutritional therapy varies by medical insurance and the patient’s individual policy.