ASPEN Releases New Parenteral Nutrition Recommendations

March 26, 2017, Silver Spring, MD – Published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) recently released new recommendations for the appropriate use of parenteral (intravenous) nutrition.  

Parenteral nutrition (PN) is one of the most notable achievements of modern medicine and is provided to all age groups across the healthcare continuum. It offers a life-sustaining option when intestinal failure prevents adequate oral or enteral nutrition (tube feeding). However, providing nutrients by vein is a complex form of nutrition support that comes with a heightened risk of causing patient harm when not administered correctly.

“PN is administered in a range of health care settings, from critical care to home care, at times without the oversight of a dedicated, knowledgeable nutrition support team,” said lead author, Patricia Worthington, MSN, RN, CNSC. “These recommendations offer guidance intended to minimize the risk to patients receiving this therapy.”

To develop the consensus recommendations, the ASPEN board of directors appointed a task force composed of physicians, nurses, dietitians and pharmacists. The resulting document promotes the clinical benefits of PN, outlines its appropriate use, provides recommendations for developing quality monitoring tools, identifies areas for further research, and guides evidence-based decisions for organizations and individual professionals. The recommendations can also inform decisions made by other stakeholders, such as policy makers and third-party payers, by providing current perspectives regarding the use of PN in a variety of healthcare settings.  

The task force suggests the following high-level recommendations around PN:


  •  Recognize clinical indications for PN as well as situations in which the therapy is not likely to be beneficial;  
  •  Develop a PN prescription that meets individual requirements;  
  •  Monitor the response to therapy; 
  •  Adjust the therapeutic plan as indicated; 
  •  Promote a seamless transition when PN is no longer required; and 
  •  Encourage a collaborative approach that crosses professional and departmental boundaries.  


“PN is a critical component of care for many patients,” said Beverly Holcombe, PharmD, BCNSP, FASHP, FASPEN, ASPEN’s Clinical Practice Specialist. “The need for healthcare teams to promote its safe and effective use is vital. Our hope is that these recommendations will help clinicians achieve the best nutritional outcomes for their patients.” 

A detailed discussion of these recommendations took place recently at ASPEN’s annual Clinical Nutrition Week earlier this year. A rebroadcast of that presentation is taking place tomorrow, Tuesday, March 28 from 1:00 – 2:30 EDT. Register
here to participate.  

This work builds on ASPEN’s long standing efforts on PN safety initiatives, much of which can be found on its
website and in a toolkit focused exclusively on this therapy. 

The article and full recommendations can be found



The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, ASPEN is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,500 members from around the world, ASPEN is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about ASPEN, please visit


Juliet Glassroth 
[email protected]