After leaving the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), many people who have survived a serious illness are left with considerable physical and psychological handicaps. Nutrition remains a challenge, especially in the initial stages of recovery in the ICU, where patients are commonly malnourished, a condition associated with poor results. However, nutrition rehabilitation—the act of restoring or optimizing nutritional status after illness—is rarely highlighted, maybe because it is an underrecognized and undervalued subject in critical care rehabilitation and research. So far, 16 primary studies have been published to measure some aspect of nutritional status (e.g., nutrition intake or factors influencing nutrition intake) in ICU survivors. This narrative review’s primary objective was to provide a synopsis of the most important topics to emerge from this research, which together form the foundation of the present knowledge of nutritional recovery and rehabilitation in ICU survivors. Poor appetite and early satiety are the number 1 physiological barriers to appropriate nutrition for ICU survivors. Dysphagia and a diminished ability to feed independently are the 2nd functional barriers. Low mood and body dysmorphia are psychological barriers too. The capacity to eat for a patient who has survived the intensive care unit is sometimes hindered by organizational impediments such as inconvenient feeding times and interruptions. When nutrition leaves the intensive care unit, many ward-based healthcare workers lack the necessary expertise. Premature discontinuation of enteral nutrition, leaving patients dependent on an oral diet, is a major contributor to poor nutritional status after ICU discharge. Future research in post-intensive care unit nutrition recovery and rehabilitation was examined, and realistic solutions to improve nutrition rehabilitation are explored in light of the themes that emerged from this analysis. Because of the close relationship between a person’s diet and their overall health, it was crucial to consider their nutritional status while designing a comprehensive plan for their recovery. As acknowledged specialists in the field of nutrition, dietitians should also be invited to participate in stakeholder meetings aimed at enhancing ICU rehabilitation programs and better outcomes for survivors of critical illness.
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- Doctor’s Voice