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The role of nutrition in the management of COPD patients

This article examines the role of malnutrition in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Until recently, weight loss was considered an inevitable consequence of COPD, however, modern research has demonstrated that weight gain is in fact achievable and can result in functional improvements. It is important that community nurses are aware of the importance of nutrition in COPD, both in screening for malnutrition and developing appropriate treatment plans, including the use of oral nutritional supplements alongside dietary advice and counselling. The current NHS policy of moving care 'closer to home' is resulting in more complex COPD patients being managed in the community and with this comes the challenge of managing reduced weight and low oral intake. It is, therefore, essential that community nurses develop the necessary skills and resources to deal with this growing group of patients.