The Alfred's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was once again ranked the best in the world in an international survey of its nutrition practices for critically ill patients.

The award was announced at a ceremony during the annual Clinical Nutrition Week, hosted by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) in January. The Alfred scored top points for providing nutrition therapy to critically ill patients according to best practice recommendations.

Enteral nutrition, or feeding via a tube, is considered best practice for critically ill patients as it is physiologically normal and has been shown to reduce mortality. During this survey, The Alfred had less patients fed intravenously which rated better with judges who benchmark against Canadian clinical practice guidelines.

Manager of nutrition at The Alfred, Ibolya Nyulasi, said the award isn't just about feeding patients as they come into hospital, it's about using nutrition effectively as a real therapy that has a positive outcome.

"I am very proud that The Alfred, together with dietitians, ICU consultants and nurses, are leading with research to influence other hospitals on the importance of nutrition for critically ill patients.

"More often, patients are so sick they are unable to eat normally, which leads to muscle loss and in some serious cases, death.

"Such complications can be reduced by optimising nutrition therapy the moment a critically ill patient is admitted," Ibolya said.

The Alfred was also praised for its efforts in actively targeting nutrition requirements for each patient and taking a multidisciplinary approach involving dieticians, ICU nurses, nurse educators and ICU consultants on setting bedside protocols and education programs for staff. 

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