Year of Publication

2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Martha Biddle

Clinical Mentor

Margaret Plymale

Committee Member

Karen Butler

Committee Member

Prakash Pandalai

Abstract

Background: Frailty is a syndrome or grouping of clinical characteristics that collectively increases one’s vulnerability to acute and external health stressors. Higher rates of frailty are present in oncology surgical patients and is a predictor of postoperative complications, as well as increased morbidity and mortality. Long- and short-term survival of surgical oncology patients is worse in frail patients than robust patients. Prehabilitation interventions during the planning phase of surgical intervention may serve to mitigate already known health concerns prior to inflicting the stressor that is surgical intervention.

Purpose: To measure the feasibility of an educational prehabilitative nutritional intervention aimed at increasing the pre-operative surgical oncology patient’s protein intake as measured by three 24-hour food recalls. The educational intervention focused on increasing the patient’s knowledge of commonly consumed, financially accessible, easily prepared foods that are high in protein and nutrient dense.

Methods: A feasibility study method was used to evaluate an educational prehabilitative nutritional intervention that promoted increased protein intake prior to surgery. Twenty-four-hour food recalls were collected to measure protein intake over 3 different time intervals (once before the intervention and two in the month following the intervention).

Results: A total of 20 participants enrolled and completed the initial survey and intervention 10 completed all three time points. Enrollment and retention of participants was feasible, as was the application of the intervention. The mean protein intake increased from initial assessment through the two post-intervention time intervals (65.8g; 74.1g; 86.3g, respectively).

Conclusion: It is feasible to perform an educational prehabilitative nutritional intervention in an outpatient surgical oncology setting. There was an increase in protein intake among the patients within our study sample. However, because the sample size and the accrual time frame were small, we cannot claim a causal relationship.

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