Signs of Weight Loss and Malnutrition in Your Residents

Signs of Weight Loss and Malnutrition in Your Residents

COVID-19 provides nursing homes with many challenges to keep residents safe. One huge challenge is malnutrition in residents so what we should be doing, even if a COVID-19 person is not losing and is COVID-19 positive, we need to be doing weekly weights. We need to use our EMR to identify those clients that are eating poorly. We need a red flag system to help them because we don’t want them to lose weight and we don’t want to address the poor intake after the fact of weight loss but before to catch it before the weight loss occurs. Visit your residents on your rounds, visit them and you can look at residents many times and tell they’re emaciated or losing weight. (Their face looks like Jed Clampett’s dog on the Beverly Hillbillies and their face is all loose and heavy.) 

Signs of Weight-loss and Malnutrition in Your ResidentsHere are ways to monitor & prevent weight loss through resident visits:

  • Check for s/s of muscle wasting.
  • Poor intakes
  • Facial wasting
  • Weak handshake (your strength is in your hands)
  • Skin
  • Evaluate feeding needs
  • Collaborate with ST/OT/nursing
  • Review ADL’s
  • Refer residents at risk to RDN/NDTR ASAP!


If you’re one of our Nutritious Lifestyles clients, you have the assessment that we gave you, but what else could you do? Well as a team, let’s chat, that’s the purpose of care planning and communication can we liberalize the diet more. Does it really matter if someone who 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. Macaroni and cheese goes over very well, it’s a starch and protein, easy to chew and very tasty and again, you’ll 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. For more information on the best practices to combat malnutrition and weight loss in residents, check out our latest webinar Keeping You, Your Clients, and Staff Healthy While Delivering Safe, High-Quality Food and Dining Services.


Nutritious Lifestyles Webinars