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As a nurse, you will need to prepare clients for their meals, serve them food, and depending on their needs, assist them in eating. Since clients can have different nutritional needs or might have issues with chewing or swallowing, the diet ordered for your client will be tailored to their specific needs. Now, before we talk about how to do these things, here are some general considerations. Always check that the name on the tray matches the identification card or bracelet of the client and that the meal served follows the nutritional guidelines for that particular client. Make sure to serve food as soon as it’s ready so that serving temperature is optimal.

Try to create a friendly atmosphere, keep them company, and help them as much as they need, while encouraging them to participate as much as possible. Okay, so, when preparing a client for their meal, first gather the supplies you’ll need, including gloves, and paper towels. Next, assist the client with hand hygiene. Then, if they use eyeglasses, hearing aids, or dentures, check that those devices are properly positioned. Finally, check where they’ll be eating and make sure the room is free from disturbing sights, odors, or sounds.

The best location to eat for many clients is a community dining room, if available because it provides your clients the opportunity to socialize. Whether in a dining room or a private room, position them in a chair or wheelchair so they’re upright; if they’re in bed, raise the head of the bed, so they’re as upright as possible. Clean and adjust the over-bed table to a suitable height.

Some clients might also have dysphagia, meaning difficulty swallowing. This is often caused by nervous system conditions, like stroke or head trauma or tumors in the mouth or esophagus, blocking the passage of food. In these cases, the health care provider could order all liquids, like soup, to be thickened, making them less difficult to swallow. To do that, start adding a thickener to the liquid as slowly as possible until you reach the wanted consistency. This could vary from nectar-like consistency which resembles fruit nectar and is easily pourable, to honey consistency which is slightly thicker and less pourable. Let the liquid sit for a couple of minutes for the thickener to achieve the ideal effect. Avoid adding ice or any condiments like vinegar or lemon juice afterwards because that could change the consistency again. Remember to check and readjust the consistency of hot liquids regularly because they tend to become thicker as they cool. Avoid offering additional water or anything that could melt, like ice cream. Make sure that all liquids provided to the client throughout the day have also been thickened.


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