Are they hungry?” is a frequent concern expressed by friends and family members in regard to patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU). Although the question seems to focus on patients’ comfort, we know that nutrition in critical illness plays a key role in patients’ outcomes. The 2016 clinical guidelines on nutrition support therapy from the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and the Society of Critical Care Medicine (ASPEN-SCCM) include a recommendation for the early initiation of enteral feeding in critically ill adults who are unable to eat. Enteral feeding is a cost-effective strategy for preventing malnutrition, a common complication in acute care, and has the added benefits of maintaining the gastrointestinal tract’s integrity and promoting immune function. The study by Vest et al, showing that patients who had an order for enteral nutrition had a lower risk...

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