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Donna Manring DTR

Eating “right” is important at any age. However, health issues and physical limitations can make it difficult for seniors, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, to get the nutrients they need for a balanced diet. According to the National Resource on Nutrition, between 35 and 50 percent of older residents of long-term care facilities are malnourished.

How do you find out why your resident isn't eating properly? Pay attention, look for clues and ask questions. The approach you take is critical in getting answers needed to implement the correct nutritional plan. Asking “key” questions during your nutritional screening and assessment will provide insight to develop a food plan consistent with the patient's medical needs, medications and most importantly food likes and dislikes. The aging process itself is a barrier to good nutrition since it is common for appetites to diminish as a person ages. A decline in the senses of smell and taste also affect a person’s ability to enjoy food. If a meal isn’t appetizing, a senior is less likely to eat the amounts they should.

It’s imperative to have adequate staff and staff members should be well-trained and supervised by nutrition professionals to feed sensitively and appropriately. Efforts to improve quality of care should be aimed at improving staffing patterns, the quality of food services, the incorporation of appropriate feeding techniques into patient services and education and training of staff on feeding techniques for patients with functional limitations.

In this session, you will receive practical tips and proven ideas to ensure residents are benefiting from proper nutrition and enjoying it. In other words, learn how to turn mealtime into a gratifying experience while also improving their health (Have their cake and eat it, too!). Appealing foods may help stimulate appetite, especially in someone whose senses of taste and smell aren't what they used to be.

At the completion of this program, the participant will be able to:
  1. Develop successful training programs customized to meet individual resident needs including nutritional interventions if necessary
  2. Apply practical approaches to providing nutrient dense foods to meet specific dietary requirements
  3. Create an action plan for enhancing food flavor, texture, smell and presentation to stimulate appetites and maximize food intake
  4. Implement dining enhancements so mealtimes become “social events” and/or highlights of the day
This session will incorporate lecture, facilitated group discussion, case study, question and answer, and interactive group activities.

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