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Donna Manring

Recently I was asked about using Senna leaves in recipes for bowel management programs for long term care. The residents were tired of prune pudding. As with many bowel programs residents can become bored with "prune pudding". Is that a surprise? Sounds really appetizing doesn't it? The first thing I would suggest is stop calling it Prune Pudding! Really watch the faces when you offer them prune pudding. The facility had heard about using Senna leaves and a source had the leaves stored in a freezer. Questions I would be asking is how long has the senna leaves been in the freezer? As with any herbs strength is altered in storage and with method of storage. In over the counter senna products, (senokot etc.) amounts and strength is controlled.

Use of Senna and heart patients could be a risk therefore monitor with heart patients. As with other bowel regimes, this may cause abdominal pain, low electrolytes or problems with dehydration or potassium deficiency. Certain medicines may interact with senna. (Digoxin)

Fiber one has a fruit smoothie recipe that is fruit yogurt, fiber one, strawberries, milk and banana. Cost is a little high, however well received and has 16gms of fiber. Visit fiber one web site for more information.

Prune pudding, now referred to as plum pudding, can be added to oatmeal and baked. Serve as a baked plum oatmeal and garnish with a choice high in fiber.

You may wish to visit http://www.californiadriedplums.org/ for more recipe ideas.

Involve your food purveyors in assisting you in getting high fiber recipes for bowel management. Develop a taste testing team to sample what you want your residents to eat. The taste test team should include someone from various departments, not just dietary or nursing.

The problem you will run into frequently is boredom with receiving the same high fiber supplement continually. You may want to consider a high fiber menu calling it something catchy of course. The resident then can choose or alternate the bowel regime product they are receiving. Each facility would have to evaluate what would be the choices, frequency of choice etc. Being creative is key to keeping the program going, no pun intended. If possible choose high fiber foods and then if necessary bowel medications. For some of your residents including high fiber food choices along with bowel meds can be effective. As with anything acceptance, choice and results will vary with each resident.


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