ESPEN Guideline on Hospital Nutrition

Clin Nutr. 2021 Dec; 40(12):5684-5709. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.09.039. Epub 2021 Oct 20.
Thibault, R., Abbasoglu, O., Ioannou, E., Meija, L., Ottens-Oussoren, K., Pichard, C., Rothenberg, E., Rubin, D., Siljamäki-Ojansuu, U., Vaillant, M. F., & Bischoff, S. C.


In hospitals through Europe and worldwide, the practices regarding hospital diets are very heterogeneous. Hospital diets are rarely prescribed by physicians, and sometimes the choices of diets are based on arbitrary reasons. Often prescriptions are made independently from the evaluation of nutritional status, and without taking into account the nutritional status. Therapeutic diets (low salt, gluten-free, texture and consistency modified, …) are associated with decreased energy delivery (i.e. underfeeding) and increased risk of malnutrition. The European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) proposes here evidence-based recommendations regarding the organization of food catering, the prescriptions and indications of diets, as well as monitoring of food intake at hospital, rehabilitation center, and nursing home, all of these by taking into account the patient perspectives. We propose a systematic approach to adapt the hospital food to the nutritional status and potential food allergy or intolerances. Particular conditions such as patients with dysphagia, older patients, gastrointestinal diseases, abdominal surgery, diabetes, and obesity, are discussed to guide the practitioner toward the best evidence based therapy. The terminology of the different useful diets is defined. The general objectives are to increase the awareness of physicians, dietitians, nurses, kitchen managers, and stakeholders towards the pivotal role of hospital food in hospital care, to contribute to patient safety within nutritional care, to improve coverage of nutritional needs by hospital food, and reduce the risk of malnutrition and its related complications.

Information NutriBib

Reference work for leading, current and selected literature in the field of clinical nutrition

Publications on clinical nutrition have grown steadily in recent years and the scientific evidence has been improved by numerous observational as well as intervention studies. Various umbrella organisations, such as the Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (GESKES), the German Society for Nutritional Medicine (DGEM) or the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) publish guidelines on nutrition in various clinical situations at regular intervals. Thus, a large amount of literature is available for evidence-based nutritional medicine.

The NutriBib aims to filter out authoritative publications in the various fields of nutritional medicine and thus to provide an overview of the abundance of literature. A large number of experienced nutrition experts contributed to the selection of relevant sources and allow a broadly based selection. Nevertheless, the literature selection cannot be considered exhaustive. Specific literature can be found by entering search words (using the magnifying glass at the top right) or by searching the table of contents.

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List of abbreviations

DGEM German Society for Nutritional Medicine (German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin)
GESKES  Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (German Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz) 
ESPEN European Society of Clinicl Nutrition and Metabolism