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Module 03 - Nutrition and Diet Therapy
By the end of this module you should be able to:
Illustrate ways in which nutritional needs change as a result of aging process
Identify barriers to maintaining adequate nutritional status
Identify the PN role in promoting adequate nutrition
Demonstrate PN interventions that maintain skin integrity
Reading - Gerontological Nursing & Healthy Aging, Chapter 10 pp. 130-142, Chapter 14
pp. 185-199
Williams' Basic Nutrition & Diet Therapy, Chapter 12
Activity Time: 2 hours
How Does Aging Change our Nutritional Needs?
Activity Time: 1 hour
Barriers to Adequate Nutrition and Nursing Interventions Activity
Activity Time: 15 minutes
Module 03 Knowledge Check
Activity Time: 15 minutes
Module 03 Discussion - Adequate Nutrition and Skin Integrity
Activity Time: 2 hours
Additional Time for Study, Research, and Reflection: 1 hour
Total Estimated Time: 6.5 hours
How Does Aging Change our Nutritional Needs?
How Does Aging Change our Nutritional
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“If I do reach the point when I can no longer feed myself, I hope that the
hands holding my fork belong to someone who has a feeling for who I am.
I hope my helper will remember what she learns about me and that her
awareness of me will grow from one encounter to another. Why should this
make a difference? Yet, I am certain that my experience of needing to be
fed will be altered if it occurs in the context of my being known. I will want
to know about the lives of the people I rely on, especially the one who
holds my fork for me. If she would talk to me, if we could laugh together, I
might even forget the chagrin of my useless hands. We could have a
conversation rather than a feeding.” -Lustbader (2017, Touhy, p. 15)
There is little doubt that nutrition plays a significant role in our overall well-being.
Eating a balanced diet is something that is stressed throughout the lifespan. However,
researchers have found that nutrition can actually lessen the impact of age-related
disease processes such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cognitive diseases such as
Alzheimer’s. Those are all great reasons to promote good nutritional habits, especially
in our elderly clients. The United States dietary guidelines exist to do just that,
encourage health and well-being.
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Older adults should limit their fat intake. This recommendation is no
different than for any other age group. The risk factors associated with
obesity include heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Limiting fat
intake to 20-30% of total caloric intake can help maintain a healthy weight.
Protein and fiber should be consumed in adequate amounts, and often
times are not. Protein is needed for reasons such as maintaining skin
integrity, and recent studies have shown that older adults require higher
protein intake than other age groups. Inadequate amounts of fiber can lead
to dehydration and constipation.
Vitamin intake is important. Just as is recommended for other age groups, older adults
should consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Medications and decreased
production of gastric acids after age 50 can lead to lower levels of Vitamin B12.
Increasing foods rich in this vitamin, such as whole grains can help.
One way that nursing can help with maintaining adequate nutrition by keeping
accurate records of intake. If our clients are eating 50% or less of each meal, they are at
risk of malnutrition. Social isolation can affect dietary intake as clients may become
depressed and lose interest in eating. Encourage the clients to eat in a dining area
rather than in their room. If the client insists on eating in their room, then nursing can
allow some time in their schedules to sit with the client during the meal.
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Older adults may also have alterations in taste and smell. Nursing can help
by making the food look appealing, and asking the clients if there are any
seasonings they would like, keeping in mind that we want to limit salt
intake. Another thing that could influence adequate intake is the type of
food, and the time it is served. Nursing can intervene by encouraging the
client to participate in food choices, and ask what time they prefer to eat.
Sometimes, we need to get creative and think outside the box in order to
ensure our older clients are having their nutritional needs met.
Barriers to Adequate Nutrition and Nursing Interventions Activity
Barriers to Adequate Nutrition and Nursing
Interventions Activity
Module 03 Knowledge Check
Module 03 Knowledge Check
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