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Importance of Feeding for Sick People: Nutrition and Hydration Practices

Feeding, in the sense of providing food and drink, is part of basic care. Sick people must always be fed. Dying people have to be fed when they are hungry and provided drink if they are thirsty. Universally, in every culture and religious tradition, feeding is identified with care. Starving another person or refusing to provide food and drink is seen everywhere as wrong and inhumane. If a person is dying and wants food or drink, refusing it would be unpardonable neglect.

Nurses need to educate nutritional needs those in their care about healthy eating and hydration

  • Maintain a food chart for every patient
  • Use malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST) assessment
  • Monitor every patient’s weight with a weight chart
  • Keep accurate fluid balance charts
  • Put a traffic light prompt for feeding above every patient’s bed
  • Protect mealtimes. All staff at mealtimes to help patients to eat
  • All disciplines and department must be aware of protected times
  • Display posters at the ward entrance and in the patient information packs
  • Work very closely with the dieticians and speech and language therapists
  • Always place trays in front of the patient. Do not leave them at the bottom f the bed or out of reach.
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