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When his daughter, Maggie, was in a serious car accident, David Chirico, RD, CD-N, and Sr. Manager of Customer & Sales Analytics at Nestlé Health Science, became her patient advocate during her hospitalization. Based on his input, Maggie received IMPACT® Peptide 1.5 formula and IMPACT Advanced Recovery® Immunonutrition drink for nutritional therapy as she recovered.

David and his wife Rachel talked to us about advocating for family during a health crisis. Here’s their story:

Get a patient advocate with medical know-how

David: Maggie was thrown 30 feet from the car and had multiple, life-threatening injuries. It was dire. As a dietitian, I felt that I had an advantage over other families in a similar situation. I also had the Nestlé Health Science family behind me.

If you don’t have a medical or nutritional background, get a patient advocate who does. Advocating for family may require reaching out to a family member or a friend who has medical experience. Find someone to ask for advice to make sure your loved one is getting everything they need.

Get to know the other families in the ICU

David: Other families can be a patient advocate resource, as well. I met a medical professional whose father had a stroke. She gave us advice and hope regarding Maggie’s brain injury. She explained that the brain is a miraculous organ that often can heal itself, and that Maggie had youth on her side. Just having the input and support of others who are struggling is a big help.

Women talking

 

Rachel: We, in turn, urged other families to plaster the hospital room with pictures of their loved one. That’s what we did for Maggie. This helps your doctors and nurses make connections to your loved one as a person, not just a patient lying in a bed.

Ask for a comprehensive treatment plan

David: Advocating for a family member can be confusing when there are so many doctors involved. Be assertive. Ask questions. I was able to get a summary of Maggie’s injuries, learn what meds she was on, and get a treatment plan. If you don’t understand it all, ask someone to explain any medical terms that confuse you.

Family consultation

 

Rachel: Even if you're asking all the wrong questions, you're asking questions. You're making them consider things that they might not be considering.

Getting Maggie on IMPACT® Peptide 1.5 Formula

David: Because I was familiar with the benefits of the product, I specifically asked the doctors to put Maggie on IMPACT® Peptide 1.5 formula to get the specialized nutrition she needed during her recovery. Advocating for family is a balancing act; you don’t want to insult the doctors. My advice is to be polite and respectful, especially if you’re advocating for something they may not have considered.

Rachel: You need to make a personal connection with the people caring for your loved one. They become your advocates. We really got to know the doctors and nurses, but more importantly, they got to know Maggie through us.

The importance of nutritional therapy for trauma patients

David: Nutritional therapy wasn’t just about giving Maggie calories and protein. It was about using specialized nutrients to support her body as it went through the healing process and was building new tissue. IMPACT® Peptide 1.5 formula includes arginine, fish oil, and nucleotides, a blend of nutrients that supports the body’s immune response during trauma.

Dietitian consultation

 

If you find yourself advocating for family, I recommend talking to the dietitian. Ask when nutritional therapy will be initiated and what they’re going to use. Because you want to be sure that the product they use will promote the most positive outcome. For more on Maggie’s story, read When Trauma Strikes, Every Detail Matters.

Nestlé Health Science was there for Maggie and her family

David: There was such an outpouring of support from Nestlé Health Science. If I didn't have Nestlé Health Science there to help, I don't know what we would've done. I had such a belief in what IMPACT® formulas could do for Maggie.

Want to understand more how nutritional therapies work?

Read about the science-based nutrition behind IMPACT® Peptide 1.5.