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Dietitians Explore the Healing Effects of Goat Product Consumption in LTC

By Pat Jones, RD and Kelsey Russell-Murray, RD | November 8, 2021

A number of years ago, my husband required an operation. Several years prior, he had spoken with a goat farmer that had cut his hand and had healed surprisingly well according to his nurses, which he attributed to drinking a glass of goat’s milk every day. Remembering this, my husband decided to have a daily glass of goat milk leading up to his operation. And like the farmer, his incision healed well.

At that same time, I was caring for a resident that had a pressure injury on his ankle. Despite many nursing and nutritional interventions, it remained open after four years. The resident loved milk and drank many glasses per day.  Why not try goat milk, I thought? The injury healed within 6 months with this diet alteration.
Meanwhile, I was working with Kelsey Russell RD, who suggested that we do a study to investigate whether the consumption of goat products is beneficial for promoting healing among residents of long-term care.

The study details

We chose subjects with Stage 2, 3, 4 or unstageable pressure injuries, that had been open for more than four months. Each resident was provided with a total of 250ml of goat dairy products daily. Wounds were then monitored biweekly for size, stage, and colour. 

Participants were excluded if unable to complete the study or if less than 50% of the goat products were consumed over any month.

A total of 25 participants enrolled in the study; 17 completed the study, and 8 were excluded due to passing away. All residents met the monthly intake requirement of 50%.

The study results

A total of 24 pressure injuries were monitored from the 17 participants. Seventeen of the wounds closed during the six-month monitoring period, which is a closing rate of 71%. This was a very acceptable result, considering the age and co-morbidities of this group, and the wound stages, size and longevity.

The results indicate that goat product consumption is feasible in an elderly population living in LTC, and it may have a positive effect on pressure injury healing. The treatment is minimally invasive and cost-effective. It was so rewarding to see how much joy it added to the residents' daily lives, when pain was reduced and some restrictions lifted.  They had more freedom to do the activities they enjoyed.

The full case series study has been published in the official journal of the European Wound Management Association, Journal of Wound Management. This journal is an open access publication.  You can read the full article here.  

We would heartily invite further research in this area. 

Pat Jones graduated from Guelph University with a BASc degree. Her career started off with teaching at Centralia College in Huron Park. Her love for seniors soon shifted her focus to Long Term Care. She has been involved with the implementation and teaching of technology that enhances the care for the Long Term Care sector. In her personal life, Pat loves gardening, cooking and sewing.

Kelsey Russell-Murray has been working as a Registered Dietitian for almost a decade now, as a clinical inpatient RD at St Thomas Elgin General HospitaI, specializing in critical care and stroke nutrition. In 2020 she opened a virtual private practice, Gut Healthy Dietitian, where she specialize primarily in gut and digestive-health related diseases/conditions and hormonal disorders. As well she is passionate about sports nutrition and plant-based diets. She has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Nutrition as well as a Graduate Diploma of Integrated Dietetic Internship from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Just recently she completed a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation through McMaster University. In her (limited!) spare time she loves to spend time with her wife and young sons, cooking and playing sports.

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