The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has now affected millions globally in pandemic proportions, creating extraordinary challenges for hospital management, from regular wards to intensive care units. COVID-19 has protean features and treatment guidelines are still evolving. While the first order of the day is to save lives and reduce complications, PhilSPEN would like to remind our colleagues that nutrition care and therapy play a crucial role in improving outcomes, particularly for patients who have severe infections and are critically ill.

Data have shown that older, immunocompromised individuals and those with polymorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, lung and heart disease are at greater risk of succumbing to complications from COVID-19. These same conditions also put them at high nutrition risk. And for those who survive COVID-19 after a long ICU stay, the road to recovery will also need to address worsening or new-onset malnutrition and muscle wasting.

The PhilSPEN algorithm is a guide that you can use in managing nutritional issues among patients with COVID-19, based on published guidelines. It is presented in two complementary formats, an abridged version and one with more detailed management, to be used as appropriate depending on the clinical situation.

It is our goal to share best practices to all our members and all organizations contributing in patient management. Do check back regularly for updates as guidelines may change as new evidence emerges.

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