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Quality parenteral nutrition: an ideal mixed bag

  • Rebecca White (a1)


Professor Pennington was an advocate for quality in all aspects of nutrition support and its delivery, ensuring that the patient remained at the centre of all decisions, and that specialist artificial nutrition support was best managed by the multidisciplinary nutrition team and the education of the wider healthcare community. Within the conference theme of ‘Quality’, this commentary aims to outline drivers for and risks to aspects of quality in parenteral nutrition (PN) services. Quality is defined as a particular property or attribute associated with excellence; in the context of the provision of PN this can be translated to quality processes and standards in the assessment, prescription, preparation, administration and monitoring of PN. Quality products and services are delivered through the timely application of knowledge, competence, procedures and standards. Quality can be so easily compromised; inattention, ignorance and arrogance all play their part. PN is a high-risk therapy; the quality of its delivery should not be entirely dependent on the skills, knowledge and competence of those delivering this care but on accepted standards, procedures, communication, resource and infrastructure. Identification of key steps in the provision of PN and a review of the relevant patient safety data reveal points where safeguards can be put in place to ensure quality is not compromised. Full evaluation of standardisation, computerisation and competency-based training as risk-reduction strategies is required.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author: Rebecca White, fax +44 1865 235456, email


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