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Medical nutrition

Chronic Wounds and Pressure Ulcers

Chronic wounds are wounds that do not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time.

They include pressure ulcers (also called pressure sores), venous ulcers, arterial ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and dehisced surgical wounds.

Chronic wounds are debilitating and painful and can have a significant impact on a person’s life

Chronic wounds are debilitating and painful and can have a significant impact on a person’s life. They can also result in unnecessary admissions to hospital and prolonged lengths of stay.

There are significant cost implications in managing chronic wounds across the health service.

Nutrition in the management of chronic wounds

Nutrition plays a critical role in both the prevention and treatment of chronic wounds. National and international guidelines on wound care recommend that all patients at risk of chronic wounds undergo regular nutritional screening to identify malnutrition risk2,3 and that nutritional intervention in the form of wound specific oral nutritional supplements, high protein, high calorie meals, and fortified foods are provided to individuals who are unable to consume enough nutrients via a standard oral diet.

Disclaimer: Nutricia oral nutritional supplements are foods for special medical purposes and should only be used under medical supervision.


1. Gethin G et al (2005). Estimating the costs of pressure area management based on a survey of ulcer care in one Irish hospital. J Wound Care 14(4): 162-65
2. EPUAP/NPUAP 2014. Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Clinical Practice Guideline.
www.npuap.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Quick-Reference-Guide-DIGITAL-NPUAP-EPUAP-PPPIA-Jan2016.pdf. Accessed on 6/4/2017
3. Health Service Executive (HSE) 2009. National best practice and evidence based guidelines for wound management.
www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/Primary/woundguidelines.pdf. Accessed on 6/4/2017
4. Cereda et al. (2015) A Nutritional Formula Enriched with Arginine, Zinc and Antioxidants for the Healing of Pressure Ulcers. Ann Intern Med 162(3):167-74.
5. Van Anholt et al (2010). Specific nutritional support accelerates pressure ulcer healing and reduces wound care intensity in non-malnourished patients. Nutrition 26 (9) 872-890
6. Cereda E et al (2017). Cost-effectiveness of a disease-specific oral nutritional support for pressure ulcer healing. Clin Nutr 36: 246-252