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Blended diets for tube-fed children and young people: a rapid review update.

BACKGROUND: Many children and young people with complex health and care needs use enteral feeding tubes to optimise their nutritional intake in the UK and other countries. Blended diets as an alternative to the exclusive use of commercial formula are becoming more commonly used, and there is evidence to support the benefits of using a blended diet on the child or young person and their wider family.A rapid review was published in 2017 exploring blended diets as a valid alternative to commercial formula for enteral feeding for children and young people. An update was necessary to ensure that professional practice is informed by the latest evidence, which has expanded significantly since the publication of the original article.

METHODS: A rapid review method was used and the PRISMA checklist formed the basis of the protocol devised ahead of data collection. Key databases included: PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Google Scholar.

RESULTS: 29 articles were included and four themes were identified from the collated data. (1) Symptom improvement and clinical outcomes, (2) nutritional content, (3) caregiver experiences and (4) blended diet practices. Findings showed that blended diets can have a positive impact on physical symptoms as well as social influences extending to families and carers.

CONCLUSION: Nutritional content, food hygiene and viscosity of food blends are important considerations for professionals and families to ensure safe practice when using blended diets for enteral feeding.

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