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The role of nutrition in successful wound healing

Healthy eating is a topic covered widely in the media, and is particularly relevant to healthcare, with diet and nutrition vital to the management and prevention of many conditions. Wound healing is a complex process that relies on the coordination and internal regulation of activities such as the removal of devitalised tissue and growth of fresh blood vessels. This article examines the phases of wound healing and discusses how nutrients can affect and enhance this process. Understanding the role of nutrients in wound care enables nurses to offer advice to patients whose wounds are not progressing in the expected manner. Nutrition should form part of holistic wound assessment, with any malnourished patient being referred to a dietician. It is a misconception that only underweight individuals can be malnourished and the use of a robust assessment tool will assist nurses in deciding which patients require onward referral. There appears to be a significant link between poor nutrition and delayed wound healing, with a higher risk of complications such as infection identified in malnourished patients