Nutrition support teams: Institution, evolution, and innovation.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition


california; burbank; Humans; United States; Nutritional Support; Parenteral Nutrition; Enteral Nutrition; Hospitals; Physicians; Patient Care Team


The historical institution, evolution, and innovations of nutrition support teams (NSTs) over the past six decades are presented. Focused aspects of the transition to transdisciplinary and patient-centered care, NST membership, leadership, and the future of NSTs are further discussed. NSTs were instituted to address the need for the safe implementation and management of parenteral nutrition, developed in the late 1960s, which requires the expertise of individuals working collaboratively in a multidisciplinary fashion. In 1976, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) was established using the multidisciplinary model. In 1983, the United States established the inpatient prospective payment system with associated diagnosis-related groupings, which altered the provision of nutrition support in hospitals with funded NSTs. The number of funded NSTs has waxed and waned since; yet hospitals and healthcare have adapted, as additional education and experience grew, primarily through ASPEN's efforts. Nutrition support was not administered in some instances by the "core of four" (physician, nurse, dietitian, pharmacist). The functions may be carried out by a member of the core of four not associated with the parent discipline, in accordance with licensure/privileging. This cross-functioning has evolved into the adaptation of the concept of transdisciplinarity, emphasizing function over form, supported and enhanced by "top-of-license" practice. In some institutions, nutrition support has been incorporated into other healthcare teams. Future innovations will assist NSTs in providing the right nutrition support for the right patient in the right way at the right time, recognizing that nutrition care is a human right.

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health


Hospital Medicine


Hospital Medicine