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understanding diseases and diets, cultures and diets, can help in patient recovery process.
factors that effect patient's food intake?
What is a nurse's role in diet therapy?
The practical nurse should be familiar with the diet prescription and its therapeutic purpose. Although individual trays are carefully checked before leaving the Nutrition Care Division, mistakes can happen. Examine each tray with the patient's specific diet in mind. You should be able to recognize each type of diet.
• Identify nursing interventions, which may help, the patient meets his or her nutritional needs.
• Identify the responsibilities of the practical nurse in relation to diet therapy.
• Identify nursing interventions, which may prepare the patient for meals.
• Identify factors, which may alter a patient's food intake due to illness.
• Identify reasons that hospitalized patients are at risk of being malnourished.
You should relate the diet to body function and the condition being treated. For example, a low fat diet is usually the first step in treating patients with elevated blood lipids (hyperlipidemia). Hyperlipidemia may be caused by improper diet or it may have a secondary cause, such as hypothyroidism or renal failure. Untreated hyperlipidemia can lead to coronary heart disease.
Be able to explain the general principles of the diet to the patient, and obtain the patient's cooperation.
• For example, teach a diabetic patient the relationship between his insulin and the amount of food consumed.
• Observe the patient's reaction to the diet. If the patient understands the relationship between his condition and his diet, and is shown that he can continue to enjoy most of his favorite foods, he is more likely to remain on the diet.
Help plan for the patient's continued care.
• Most patients are hospitalized only during the acute and early convalescent phases of their illness so it may be necessary to continue a special diet at home.
• Chronic conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, require permanent dietary alterations.
• Be aware of the patient's home situation and the problems that the diet may cause. The patient and his family will have to adjust their meal plans.
• Request a consultation for the patient with the dietitian early in the hospitalization to allow for instructions and follow-up care.
Mealtime is an important event in the patient's long day and the patient's diet is an integral part of the total treatment plan. Certain nursing interventions may help the patient meet his or her nutritional needs.
• Consider the patient's food preferences as much as possible. Encourage the patient to fill out the selective menu, so that preferred foods will be served.
• Provide the patient with assistance in selecting the appropriate foods from the menu. The use of selective menus has improved food acceptance in most hospitals.
• Order and deliver the patient's tray promptly when it has been delayed while he was undergoing tests or procedures.
• Feed or assist the patient as necessary. Even patients, who can feed themselves, may need assistance in opening milk cartons, cutting meat, and spreading butter on bread.
• Discuss the advantages of following the diet. Explain to the patient why he will feel better and heal faster. For some diseases or disorders, the patient may be required to follow a special diet during the period of illness or the remainder of his life.
o A high protein diet is essential to repair tissues in any condition, which involves healing, such as recovery from surgery or burns.
o A person with diabetes must adhere to a diet controlled in calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
o A person with hypertension may require a diet restricted in sodium.
• Inform the dietitian or food service specialist of any special needs the patient may have. A patient who has lost his teeth and has difficulty chewing will need modifications in the consistency of the food he eats.
• Visit with the patient briefly when serving the food tray.
• Encourage family members to visit during mealtime. If present, a family member may want to feed the patient who needs assistance. Be sure that this is relaxing and safe for the patient.
• When conditions allow for it, encourage the ambulatory patient to go to the dining hall for meals or open curtains in a double room so that patients may eat together. If the patient must eat alone, turn on the television or radio.
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