Northern Ireland

Antrim Area Hospital: Intensive care nutrition sixth best in world

Antrim Area Hospital
Image caption Antrim Area Hospital has been highly ranked in terms of nutrition

Antrim Area Hospital's intensive care unit is the sixth best in the world for nutritional care, an audit has found.

It was carried out by the Canadian Critical Care Nutrition Research Group and examined the nutrition therapy for 20 patients.

The worldwide audit also rated the Antrim unit as the fifth best in Europe.

Valerie Patterson of the Northern Trust said they were "delighted" to have been placed so highly.

Vulnerable

Research indicates that patients lose approximately 1kg of muscle mass for every day they spend in an Intensive Care Unit.

That weakens patients, leaving them vulnerable to infection and impacting on how quickly they recover.

Ms Patterson, a critical care dietician with the Northern Trust, said: "When patients arrive in the Intensive Care Unit they are very vulnerable nutritionally and while their bodies try to repair they are in need of significant amounts of protein, minerals and vitamins.

"Working as part of a team we calculate and balance that requirement knowing, that the closer we can match their need then the bigger the reduction will be in muscle wastage, damage to organs, infection rates and the length of time the patient remains in intensive care."

"My role is dedicated to providing the best nutritional care to these critically ill patients and with the ongoing support from the other healthcare professionals in the Intensive Care Unit Team we will continue to implement best practice."