ISSS applies new technology in hospital nutrition

Supported by technology, the Nutritional Support Unit of the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (ISSS) guarantees adequate nutrition for hospitalized patients in four of its main hospitals: General Hospital, Surgical Medical and Oncology Hospital, and the regional hospitals of Santa Ana and San Miguel.

The objective of this unit, which has implemented a mixing machine and modern software, is to guarantee the fundamental right of patients to receive decent food and timely nutritional treatment based on scientific evidence. In addition, this will improve their health and reduce complications associated with hospital malnutrition, since this is a problem that affects at least 50% of patients admitted in Latin America.

“The ISSS Nutritional Support Unit is the first multidisciplinary group in the country dedicated to the timely detection and adequate treatment of patients with malnutrition or malnutrition upon hospital admission. We are made up of six clinical nutritionists, two pharmacists who have training in nutrition, a nurse specializing in clinical nutrition, and a nutritionist” — said Dr. José Gutiérrez, clinical head of the Nutritional Support Unit of the ISSS General Hospital.

The institution recently renewed parenteral nutrition mixing equipment to guarantee the quality of the mixtures they provide to patients who have some difficulty feeding orally.

“The software allows us to have control of the entire nutrition design, so the prescribing doctor has all the information in real time” said Dr. Gutiérrez.

Until the previous week, more than 1,058 parenteral bags had been prepared by the staff of the Nutritional Support Unit.

On a regional scale, the ISSS is at the forefront of countries such as Guatemala and Costa Rica by having a group of professionals specialized in nutritional treatment, and with modern parenteral nutrition mixing equipment that allows electronic prescriptions on the Internet, which avoids manual transcriptions that increase errors.

“Thanks to this great human and technological team, we can say that our mixing center at the General Hospital is the most modern and the one that produces the most at the national level. As Social Security, we are going to continue supporting and transforming health services step by step, guaranteeing nutritional, modern, timely, and quality treatments for our patients” — indicated director of ISSS, Mónica Ayala.

For his part, the head of the unit said that: “When we cannot feed the patient through tubes due to different ailments, we help patients with parental or intravenous nutrition, which requires a sterile area that allows us to make a specialized bag [with mixture nutrition]. Last year, despite the pandemic, 4,275 bags of parenteral nutrition were produced” explained Dr. Gutiérrez.

He added that during the pandemic, patients who suffered from COVID-19 and whose condition did not allow them to eat normally, were fed peripherally intravenously, and their nutrition was guaranteed.

Every year, the ISSS invests more than $1 million in the nutrition of hospitalized patients through different diets, which include enteral and parenteral formulas for cases in which oral intake is contraindicated due to their health condition.