27 Oct Tips to Implement & Increase Nutrition for COVID-19 Positive Residents
During this difficult time, it is important that we keep our residents’ nutrition at the top of our lists. If you have a resident that is COVID-19 positive, it may be difficult to provide nutrition the way we normally do. COVID-19 positive residents may be too exhausted to eat, eat less of their meals, or truly not enjoy the taste – this can affect their intake & nutrition! There are a lot of negative factors around COVID-19, especially now, some of the states are opening up to visit and surveys by the way, but a lot of these patients don’t understand COVID-19 and the staff don’t understand it either and it causes a great amount of anxiety. Send that referral to social services so she can work with the physician and that patient owns the increased activity. Staying busy, et cetera. Here are ways to still provide fully nutritional meals to our COVID-19 positive residents:
- Make some of our puree foods and also soup foods of the day with our leftover chicken, pieces of beef, etc. daily. After the trayline, instead of throwing out one chicken breast, we can freeze it, we can puree it, we can add it to the soup for those COVID-19 residents’ benefit.
- Save leftovers from the day before to offer alternatives for our residents. Everyone likes choices, even someone that may not be eating that well, it may improve the content of their meals in their cohort intake. If you give them the option to choose, everyone wants choices in life.
- Create a high-calorie high-value, nutritionally dense snack rotation.
- Alter your menus to get the very, very best retention on foods for hot and cold.
- Use to-go unit trays
- Use aesthetic appeal, color, temperatures, and shapes at meals, especially in isolation trays, try to put your mind on how you would accept the tray and make sure you would be one you would want to eat
At any point, if a resident cannot eat COVID-19 positive or not and is losing weight, for example, maybe they’re on the ventilator and their throat is so sore that they can’t swallow. You immediately need to refer that to SD/RD/etc. to get them involved. If any point a resident that cannot eat is losing weight and develops a pressure ulcer, you need to reach out to your RDN immediately or DTR. We are there for you, we all have cell phone numbers and we can be contacted electronically as well by email. As we’re going through this COVID experience, has the resident lost weight? Can they feed themselves or do they need help? If they do, help them, recommend that they be seeing an OT or ST to assist them in meeting their nutritional needs, individual plans of care should be based on the resident and what they need and what they want. For more information on providing nutrition to residents that are COVID-19 positive, check out our webinar Keeping You, Your Clients, and Staff Healthy While Delivering Safe, High-Quality Food and Dining Services.