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Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition and HealthCare Professionals Join Forces to Improve Patient Safety

“Be A.W.A.R.E.” Initiative Drives Awareness for Improving the Safety of Enteral Medication Delivery

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (Feb. 8, 2010) –Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition today announced the launch of a new initiative to promote safer medication delivery through an enteral feeding tube in hospitals based on the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations.

The “Be A.W.A.R.E.” campaign is designed to increase awareness and knowledge of the simple steps needed to increase patient safety among medical professionals who deliver medications to hospital patients. The “Be A.W.A.R.E.” campaign will be implemented in hospitals nationwide to help reduce the risk of medication errors and improve patient outcomes.

In releasing recommendations for improving enteral feeding safety last year, A.S.P.E.N. noted that practice differs considerably from guidelines for medication delivery through the enteral route. Surveys found that practitioners failed to complete certain simple practices and that such failures may contribute to measurable adverse outcomes. Practices that have been noted to be of concern include:

  • Failing to flush enteral feeding tubes before or between medications
  • Administering multiple drugs together
  • Improperly diluting liquid medication
  • Crushing modified-release dosage forms

“We are committed to raising awareness about safe tube-feeding practices,” said Carol Siegel, MS, RD, head of medical affairs for Nestlé Nutrition. “Medication delivery errors can have serious consequences. This is a serious problem that needs industry-wide recognition. It will require the attention and collaboration of hospitals, healthcare professionals, quality improvement groups and manufacturers to improve patient safety.”

The “Be A.W.A.R.E.” campaign promotes simple steps including:

  • Ceasing addition of medication directly into an enteral feeding formula
  • Administering each medication separately
  • Flushing the tube before and after each medication is administered
  • Diluting solid or liquid medication as appropriate
  • Administering medication using a clean oral or enteral syringe

Building on Nestlé’s ongoing patient safety initiatives, the “Be A.W.A.R.E.” campaign accompanies the 2009 “Be A.L.E.R.T.” campaign to promote safer enteral practices. Nestlé also developed SpikeRight®, an enteral-specific port with a screw-top design that reduces compatibility with intravenous sets, thereby reducing the risk of tubing misconnections. 

"The Be A.W.A.R.E. campaign is an essential tool and supplement to A.S.P.E.N.'s Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations," said Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, CNSN, director for clinical practice, advocacy, and research affairs at A.S.P.E.N. "We are very excited about this program because it distills critical information about delivering enteral medication correctly and safely into an easy-to-read guide for all healthcare practitioners."

A poster outlining the recommendations for safe medication delivery through feeding tubes will be distributed during A.S.P.E.N.’s Clinical Nutrition Week (CNW10) in Las Vegas February 8-12 and to hospitals across the nation. Posters will be available to download free of charge from www.nutritioncare.org/safety.

About Enteral Feeding
Referred to as “tube-feeding,” enteral nutrition is the delivery of nutrients through a tube to the stomach or small intestine when a patient is too ill to eat enough, has a decreased appetite, difficulty in swallowing, or has had surgery that interferes with the ability to eat. Prior to administering a drug through a feeding tube, there are several simple guidelines that a clinician must consider to reduce the likelihood of complications.

About Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition
Through science-based nutrition products and services, Nestlé Healthcare Nutrition, part of Nestlé S.A., the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company, offers complete nutritional solutions for people with specific illnesses, disease states or the ongoing challenges of different life stages. To contribute to proper nutrition information and education of healthcare providers, Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition works in collaboration with the Nestlé Nutrition Institute, which sponsors workshops, produces and distributes publications for health professionals, disseminates printed, audio-visual and electronic materials to health professionals for continuing education and integration in healthcare settings, and provides scholarships for postgraduate study or training in fields related to health and nutrition. For information about the Nestlé Nutrition Institute, health professionals can visit www.nestlenutrition-institute.org.

About Nestlé
Nestlé, whose global headquarters are in Vevey (Switzerland), was founded in 1866 by Henri Nestlé and is today the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company.  Nestlé employs 283,000 people and operates in nearly every country in the world. More information about Nestlé on: www.nestle.com.

About Nestlé Nutrition
Nestlé Nutrition helps to enhance the quality of life by supporting health and providing care for people with special nutrition needs at every stage of life. Nestlé Nutrition is built around four core businesses: Infant Nutrition, HealthCare Nutrition, Performance Nutrition and Weight Management. More information about Nestlé Nutrition on: www.nestlenutrition.com.

About A.S.P.E.N.
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.  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, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition-support clinical practice, research and education. For more information on the A.S.P.E.N. Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations visit www.nutritioncare.org/safety.

Media Contacts:

Brittany Korb    Mary Wade
MS&L Worldwide    Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition
202-261-2894    952-848-6040
brittany.korb@mslworldwide.com    mary.wade@us.nestle.com