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Discussion: Nutrition and Hydration
Geriatric patients have many nutritional and hydration concerns that impact their health and ability to acquire sufficient nutrients. Advanced practice nurses evaluating these patients must be able to account for all barriers that prevent elders from obtaining adequate nutrition, including medical conditions, transportation, finances, physiologic changes, and functional abilities. When evaluating patients, it is important to consider how they eat, what their diet consists of, and whether they have any special dietary needs that are not being met. Assessment tools, such as the Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) Scale, are an integral part of this evaluation process as they help providers identify potential obstacles for patients. In this Discussion, you assess a patient at your current practicum site and consider strategies for improving any nutrition or hydration issues.
Consider whether nutrition and/or hydration might be impacted by the patient’s functional abilities. Reflect on whether the patient is able to go out and get food to eat, cook meals, safely use the stove, etc.
Consider the patient’s diet and whether they have any special dietary needs due to medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, end-stage kidney disease, diabetes, oral health issues, etc. Reflect on whether or not the patient is attempting to compensate for a medical issue and thus creating a deficiency or excess in his or her diet.
Based on your patient assessment, think about strategies for improving any nutrition issues that might have presented (e.g., nutritional supplements, community resources such as Meals on Wheels, referral to a nutritionist or dietician, etc.).
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