Impact of Dietary Pattern Application on the Nutritional Status of Adolescents with Leukemia Undergoing Chemotherapy
Leukemia is the commonest neoplastic disease of infancy and childhood, accounting for 30-45% of all childhood concerns worldwide. Malnutrition in pediatric oncology population has been reported to occur in 32% of patients in USA and in 50 % of patients in Netherlands. Unlike adults, childrens` nutritional needs must include energy requirement for growth and development. In addition, those needs are required to support the child during the disease and its treatment. Pediatric nurses are part of the nutrition team in all pediatric units. They have an important role in identifying whether children are at risk or actually have malnutrition. Objective: To assess the nutritional status of adolescents with leukemia and determine the impact of application of dietary pattern on nutritional status of adolescents with leukemia undergoing chemotherapy. Setting: The study was conducted in the University Childrens` Hospital and Sporting Students` Hospital in Alexandria. Subjects: A convenient sample of 60 adolescents with leukemia was included in the study. Tools: Data was collected by using three tools. Adolescents and their care givers were interviewed to collect socio-demographic data and medical history of the disease. The subjects were undergone a comprehensive nutritional assessment and application of dietary pattern. Data was collected during a period of 8 months. Results: The results showed that application of dietary pattern during chemotherapy was significantly effective in improving the adolescents` nutritional style, adolescents` knowledge about their proper nutrition during chemotherapy, the chemotherapy side effects and their management. It also showed improvement in the leukemic adolescents` anthropometric measurements and laboratory investigations. Conclusion: Application of a dietary pattern during chemotherapy was significantly effective in improving the adolescents' nutritional style, their knowledge about their proper nutrition, and their treatment. Recommendations: Emphasizing the importance of nutritional assessment and management process in the medical settings are mandatory. Educating and training the nursing staff to be familiar with how and when to apply such process and improving the food service in medical setting are highly recommended.