TURIN ONCA CONFERENCE 2024 From awareness to control

The need for an NST-established accreditation program

Nutrition support teams (NSTs) consist of a multidisciplinary structure and have an important role in providing nutritional treatment to patients. One of the main outcomes of the involvement of the Turkish Society of Clinical Enteral & Parenteral Nutrition (KEPAN) in the Optimal Nutrition Care for All (ONCA) campaign was the improved collaboration with policy-makers (especially the Ministry of Health) which ended with the mandatory organization of NSTs in all hospitals.

Accreditation is a process of evaluating the compliance of an institution or organization with predetermined performance standards. Accreditation standards have been developed for hospitals and specialized clinics and departments (such as intensive care units), health care facilities, and laboratories. However, there is no established accreditation program for NSTs at national and international levels. To increase the standards of NSTs, KEPAN developed an accreditation program for NSTs (1).

Because no global standards for the accreditation of NSTs exist, a new model has been developed for accreditation. The present accreditation program involves a total of 22 standards under 13 sections, including the structure of NSTs and competencies, goals and objectives, patient assessment and care, material and equipment management, training of the staff, patient and staff safety, patient and family education, and management of document and information. These standards were specified with the support of an expert from the Health Institutes of Turkey, Turkish Health Care Quality and Accreditation Institute.

These standards were presented to the KEPAN executive board and the KEPAN accreditation committee (five physicians, two dieticians, one nurse, and one pharmacist) and finalized after discussion and revisions. These standards were uploaded to a computer program, and the necessary infrastructure for web-based management of accreditation processes was developed. The accreditation certificate is valid for 5 years.

The accreditation of the NST project was first discussed in the KEPAN Executive Board meeting on April 11, 2019, and the first application of an NST for accreditation was on November 5, 2022. Up to date, 3 NSTs achieved accreditation by KEPAN and their certificates were given in a ceremony conducted during the 13th KEPAN Congress on March 19th 2023. In addition, the accreditation of one NST is in process at the moment.

Conclusion and comment from KEPAN

To increase the quality of nutritional care and improve patient outcomes, a unique accreditation program has been developed by KEPAN. This program principally sets the basic standards, organizational schemes, and responsibilities of NSTs. We believe that this program may be a guide for the implementation of nutritional interventions in hospitals.

  1. Halil MG, Demirkan K, Doganay M, Cengiz C, Gunduz M, Abbasoglu O. Accreditation of nutrition support teams: A new initiative by the Turkish Society of Clinical Enteral & Parenteral Nutrition. Nutrition. 2023;114:112112.
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