Does oral intake of food/being orally fed whilst being nursed in ICU improve quality of ICU- stay?

Does anyone have experience with oral intake of food (or being orally fed) whilst being nursed in ICU ?

If so, what were the good and the bad experiences & conditions ?

Is taste important for ICU patients ? What are good tastes, what are bad tastes ?

Advices /references ?

9 Replies

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  • I remember staff trying to get me to eat but everything tasted like cardboard. I later realized this was because my taste buds were not working correctly but all I could manage to say was it's horrible. They seemed to think I meant that hospital food was horrible and they kept trying me with different things but to no avail. It was probably after about 7 or 8 days before my sense of taste returned.

  • Hello ,I tried to feed my husband with home made soup,even small amounts were almost impossible due to the 02 mask,and his stats dropping if the mask was taken away for seconds.His taste buds have changed totally ,and it has been 7 months since CCU. We had a chat with the dietician---- at a " follow up clinic" she said it would take 7 years ,yes 7 years for my husband s taste buds to return to normal !! we were fairly "gob smacked "

    I think it would be helpful to have a CCU Dieticain do the follow up ,but,we were keen to see someone,as ,no one else had offered an an appt ,I mean the chest clinic,or in fact anyone at all!!

    My husband ate spoonfuls of ice cream for 28 days ,so take heart if you could eat and taste after 8 days-- this is a vast improvment on 7 years !

  • I refused to eat the food on the grounds they had poisoned it and were trying to kill me.

    I'm thinking though if I was not in that state of mind food might have sped up my recovery. Not just by way of better nourishment but food can make people happy.

    The first food I asked for and accepted was back on the ward and it was a McDonald's cheeseburger. God forbid

  • I remember being offered ice cream and yoghurt which I liked. And fresh wet fruit like grapes and pineapple. Couldn't stand anything too sweet or strong tasting. Family kept bringing me food I normally like chocolate, muffins from Starbucks I just couldn't eat them.

  • Hello Summerwine,How interesting to hear that you have lost your sweet tooth ,this seems to be a common factor ,I wonder if any one has looked into this ?

  • I remember being offered anything I wanted, having had a NFT and tracheotomy for nearly 3 months, for some strange reason I asked for beans on toast and it tasted great, the ICU staff and housekeeper were fantastic along with the food, that sadly was not matched when I went to the general ward.

  • I tell you what was amazing...after waking up on my second icu visit I begged for and was finally allowed a cup of tea in a china cup. A pleasant memory I will have forever. So grateful for that cuppa.

  • I was in ICU for 32 days 12 in a coma, I was not aware that I was not being given real food for a long time and when I asked they said "That tube up there" with all the other bags and bottles was my dinner. I was feed intravenously more or less to the last days in ICU but once they took the traci out I was allowed a sandwich which tasted like the mattress. But in the morning on my last day in ICU I had baked beans, sausage, bacon and tomatoes and it was heaven! Nothing else I was given in the general ward tasted good. I lost 3.5 stone while in ICU problem was it was mainly muscle becuase your body takes the protien. I was told that you can lose 2% body weight a day in ICU and this was about right for me.

    The weirdest thing that has happened to me is I have a hypersencetivty to other peoples body odour

  • Hi. My husband was 7 weeks in ICU and for most of that was feed through his central line. When he was allowed to eat it was only soft cold food. For several weeks after he came out he wouldn't eat anything hot as it scared him. Now 6 months on he is a tea drinker, having never touched it before, wont touch coffee though he used to have several a day, is just starting to get his sweet tooth back -shame! And still can't bare the idea of eating yoghurt, porridge or jelly that he had in ICU.

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