A.S.P.E.N. Releases Parenteral Nutrition Safety Consensus Recommendations

November 26, 2013

It is estimated that only 58% of hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare organizations have precautions in place to prevent errors and patient harm associated with parenteral nutrition. To help address this gap and improve patient protections, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) today released a comprehensive set of recommendations for improving the safety of parenteral nutrition.

Parenteral nutrition, or PN, is sterile liquid nutrients given into the blood through an intravenous catheter, bypassing the normal digestion in the stomach and bowel. PN is an important therapeutic modality that is used every day by hundreds of thousands of adults, children, and infants for a variety of indications. The appropriate use of this complex therapy aims to maximize clinical benefit while minimizing the potential risk for adverse events. 

“Unfortunately, deaths have and continue to occur when safe practices for PN were not followed,” said Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, Senior Director of Clinical Practice, Advocacy, and Research Affairs for A.S.P.E.N. “These new recommendations are specifically designed to help providers of PN establish systems that improve the safety of PN prescribing, order review and verification, compounding, and administration.” 

A.S.P.E.N.’s PN safety recommendations are intended for discussion and adoption over time by organizations and individual professionals involved in the routine care of patients requiring PN. These recommendations are not intended to supersede the judgment of the healthcare professional based on the circumstances of the individual patient. 

“By providing open access to these recommendations, we hope to see the safe use of PN as the bedside practice of all providers, said Phil Ayers, PharmD, BCNSP, FASHP, lead author of the recommendations and chairperson of A.S.P.E.N.’s  PN Safety Task Force. 

The PN safety recommendations, as published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, are available here: http://pen.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/11/19/0148607113511992.full .

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The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 5,500 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. 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 A.S.P.E.N., please visit www.nutritioncare.org.