When it comes to recovering from COVID-19, the right nutrition is essential and research by Yeovil Hospital dietetics specialist Louise Albrich is ensuring the importance of nutrition is recognised nationally. 

Through her research into critical care recovery, Louise has been extensively involved in the British Dietetics Association’s working group, advising NHS England on aftercare for COVID-19 patients in the community and writing much of the nutrition advice for post COVID-19 care, published on NHS England’s website.

Having initially begun her research in 2016, looking at Symptoms and Nutrition After Critical Care (SNACC) through a National Institute of Heath Research Fellowship, Louise recognised that much of her work was hugely relevant for patients recovering from COVID-19 – from the most critically ill to those recovering at home from milder symptoms.

Speaking about the work she has published, Acting Dietetic Lead and Advanced Dietitian for Nutrition Support Dietitian and Critical Care, Louise said: “When recovering from a serious illness, nutrition should be seen as important as medicine when it comes to aiding recovery. Patients who have been in an intensive care unit can have many lasting symptoms, both physical and psychological, and the power of nutrition should never be underestimated.

“Much of my previous research on nutrition and critical care recovery, which I first presented in 2018, can help those affected by COVID-19, so we have been able to provide this information quickly to support staff on wards across the country in aiding the rehabilitation of patients, which continues once they return home.”

Working with the charity ICUsteps and healthcare colleagues, Louise has produced leaflets for patients and carers across the country and has presented her work to a variety of healthcare audiences through national networks and webinars.

Deputy Chief Nurse at Yeovil Hospital Mark Robinson said: “We are exceptionally proud of the work Louise has done along with her passion and drive to re-apply her research to help COVID-19 patients across the country. Research is so important and despite being a small hospital we actively encourage our staff to engage in research projects because we know our patients will benefit, so it is fantastic to see Louise’s example in leading this work with our dietetics team.”

Continuing her positive outlook, Louise added: “One positive I have seen from the pandemic is the media raising awareness of the impact critical illness has on an individual. I am so passionate about getting nutrition on the national agenda. It’s not just about the number of calories but the quality of nutrition that matters, especially when it comes to recovering from a serious illness.

“Nutrition heals, repairs, rebuilds and nurtures us both physically and mentally. Our bodies need nutrients for our metabolic processes to work well. The food and fluid we take is therefore a very important building block and a therapy just like other medical or surgical treatments.”

Related links

NHS England – After care need of inpatients recovering from covid19:

British Dietetic Association and ICUsteps patient nutrition advice after critical illness:

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