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How to Feed an Elderly Relative in the Hospital

Steps

  1. Find out if the elderly relative has any dietary restrictions.For example: Do they have diabetes? food allergies? difficulty chewing certain types of food? difficulty swallowing? do they need thickened fluids? You can ask your relative's healthcare worker if you don't know of any dietary restrictions. And of course, you can ask the patient directly when possible.
  2. Decide what food is safe to bring your elderly relative.Find out what he or she likes. If the relative asks for a treat like ice cream or fast food, that would be all right for a one-time treat. However, most of the time, try to bring a healthy meal - one with protein, vegetables, and a starch. Whole grains and raw vegetables are sometimes difficult for the elderly person to digest, so be sure you know what they are capable of eating.
    • In most cases, the hospital will provide the food, taking into consideration all the dietary needs and restrictions of the patient. If you wish to change from the usual meal, let the staff know that you'll be bringing in a favorite meal in place of the usual meal.
  3. Help your relative to sit comfortably.Once you have the meal in front of you, be sure your elderly relative is sitting in a comfortable, upright position. This is important so that the person can swallow the food safely without choking on it.
    • Some elderly people who are not able to feed themselves may spill food when trying to get it to their mouths, or will drop food from their mouths. Perhaps a towel or adult bib is called for to keep their clothes clean.
  4. Reassure your relative.Always talk patiently to the person you are feeding, let them know you are ready to provide another spoonful or forkful of food. Don't just hold the utensil in front of them, waiting for them to open their mouths (although this is sometimes the natural rhythm that occurs). Ask them if they would like a sip of water to help them swallow the food.
    • Ask if you can wipe or dab the mouth when food is stuck around the mouth, instead of just presuming.
  5. Assess your relative.See if they do better with a bit of communication, or peaceful concentration on the task at hand. Generally, mealtime is a social time, but not always. Sometimes swallowing is difficult and the patient may choke or sputter if there is too much distraction (talking, trying to respond to your questions). Bear this in mind when talking to them as they eat.
  6. Check in with your elderly relative every once in a while to find out if they've had enough.You do not need to finish the whole plate. On the other hand, it may take a long time for them to finish a small meal. Just because they eat slowly does not mean they're full.
  7. Be kind, respectful, and loving.Enjoy yourself. Make the meal a peaceful experience. Remember, someone had to feed you sometime in your life, or you wouldn't be here.





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Date: 06.12.2018, 15:51 / Views: 32141