Quote from CapeCodMermaid
You need to know what works for each resident. We had a lady...never ate anything...only drank. Milk with ice cream, shakes with ice cream, melted ice cream. Her weight was stable and the doc was always amazed she looked as good as she did....another resident was a total feed...wouldn't eat unless he started his meal with his dessert...another one had to face the wall because any distraction was too much.
I hate feeding...especially people who are more dead than alive and neither the family nor the doctor have the courage to say enough.
Feeding was my most disliked LTC task as well. I hated trying to make people eat when the food looked so unappetizing---pureed meats are SO gross---and they didn't want to eat anyway. Their bodies' wisdom was letting them know it was time to start shutting down the works, and yet there we were, forcing them to consume calories their bodies didn't want in a most unappealing fashion.
That said, it's another thing when people want to eat, but need help to do so. Then we get REALLY silly and insist that they eat their meat and vegetables before they can have dessert...........
I'm sorry, but if I'm 90-something and I want my sweets first, I'm going to have them.
How old does one have to be before he or she gets to make their own decisions?? Just because they may sometimes behave
like children, doesn't justify treating them as such.
I'll never forget the 93-year-old gentleman I was directed to feed one day years ago, when I was in CNA training. I was sent into the room with his tray and explicit instructions to make sure he ate at least half of his meat and veggies before I let him have his chocolate cake. This man was in acute renal failure, on hospice, and he hadn't eaten anything at all in two days; of course, being new, I encouraged him to eat the main course, which he pleasantly but firmly declined. Then I realized something: I was 35 years old. He was 93. And I
was going to teach him something about nutrition at this point in his life??
So I forked up a bite of chocolate cake, which he eagerly accepted along with a sip of milk; then another, and then still another until there was nothing left of the cake but a few crumbs. He belched contentedly, whispered "Thank you", and I took the tray from the room, knowing I'd get a lecture from the nurse but not one bit sorry for what I'd done.
The resident died later that afternoon, just as I was going off-shift. His little wife, who lived in the same room with him, thanked me for making his last "meal" a good one: "Do you know, that cake was the first thing he's enjoyed in weeks
?" she said through her tears. To this day, whenever I run across a "problem eater", I think of that sweet old couple, and ask the resident what he or she prefers
instead of trying to impose my idea of what constitutes a proper diet. All the nutrition in the world won't do the resident a bit of good if he won't eat it. (It's hard sometimes to convince the family
of this basic truth, but one must try, at any rate.
So bring on the ice cream, the gravies and sauces, and the flavors
they love. Who cares if they're not consuming the "recommended" foods in the recommended amounts---if you haven't earned the right to live the way you want by the age these folks have attained, there's not much point in living. Food is not just a collection of nutrients; it's a source of pleasure and social contact, and for many older adults in LTC facilities, just about the only one they have left. What right do we have to take that away from them?:trout:
Just my $.02 worth.