Developing a consensus to support health and social care professionals and patients manage nutrition in the context of COVID‐19 recovery
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BACKGROUND: The long-term effects on people who have had COVID-19 affect nutrition and can be influenced by diet conversely. Specific nutritional guidelines, however, were scarce at the beginning of 2020, and empirical literature was also lacking. Conventional research methodologies needed to be adapted to review the available literature that could be relevant to the United Kingdom and policy documents as well as collect the views of health and care staff. The aim of this paper is to describe the method to develop consensus statements from experts to address the necessary nutritional support and what emerged from this. METHODS: A nominal group technique (NGT) was adapted to the virtual world; we purposefully selected a range of professionals (dietitians, nurses, occupational therapists, etc.) and patients with long-term effects of COVID to present them with the most updated evidence and aim to reach key guidelines to address COVID-19 recovery. RESULTS: We were able to reach consensus statements that were developed and reviewed by relevant healthcare staff at the front line to address the nutritional needs of patients recovering from COVID-19 and those suffering from its long-term effects. This adapted NGT process led us to understand that a virtual repository of concise guidelines and recommendations was needed. This was developed to be freely accessed by both patients recovering from COVID-19 and health professionals who manage them. CONCLUSIONS: We successfully obtained key consensus statements from the adapted NGT, which showed the need for the nutrition and COVID-19 knowledge hub. This hub has been developed, updated, reviewed, endorsed and improved across the subsequent 2 years.
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