24 Nov Nutrition Interventions/Considerations for Your Team
During the pandemic it is becoming more & more difficult to provide nutrition to residents, especially COVID-19 positive residents. What can we do? As a team, let’s chat, that’s the purpose of care planning and communication so we can liberalize the diet more. Does it really matter if someone that has COVID-19 and lost 10 pounds, if they eat a piece of bacon or if they add extra salt to their plate? Can we look at using enhanced flavor foods? For example, if everything tastes like straw, you might want to give an extra high calorie dessert, which a lot of people will be able to taste sweets, but nothing else. Look at fortified foods, always honoring the food preferences, comfort foods are big and inexpensive right now, for example, macaroni and cheese – goes over very, very well, it’s a starch and protein, easy to chew and very tasty.
You may see more and more people converting to lots of mashed potatoes, softer noodles, spaghetti and meatballs, shepherds pie, spaghetti pie. You’ll want to make sure that there’s good communication with the RD or the NDTR referrals would be an EMR process or telephonically visit the residents. Aroma therapy, many studies have shown (I’ve seen it myself) that aroma therapy with meals can definitely help improve one’s appetite. Many residents get exhausted from feeding themselves a whole meal, perhaps a consideration would be to have five to six small meals a day, for example, have small portions and 2 heavy snacks, like chocolate milk and cookies at three o’clock for 250 calories at that meal and then they can have cereal with milk and a banana, another couple hundred calories at night.
Sometimes residents’ fluid and their food consistency needs to be changed. If you’re too weak to eat, you’re probably too weak to cut your own food – perhaps your meal needs to be cut up, and certainly collaborating with the recap team and your peers. For the nursing home industry, in my opinion, and also in any other dietician and physician’s opinion, diet should be a four letter word. We want to keep our residents weight on them. We want to make those people happy. They have a huge amount of time that they have been in a nursing home without a lot to do sometimes and we want to make meals exciting. Specialization is important and it is possible. For more considerations to deliver nutritional meals that residents’ respond well to, check out our webinar: Keeping You, Your Clients, and Staff Healthy While Delivering Safe, High-Quality Food and Dining Services.