Nutrition identified by measuring haemoglobin levels. Iron
Nutrition is considered to be the intake offood in relation to the body’s dietary needs. (Nutrition, 2017). Patients whocannot eat for themselves often need help and encouragement to eat and drink asnutrition is vital for good health and wellbeing (ageuk.org.
uk, 2017). Foodprovides human bodies with energy, vitamins and minerals, proteins andessential fats in order to live, grow and function properly (Nhmrc.gov.au,2017). The Department of Health (DH) (2012) statethat the science of nutrition is the study of all processes of growth,maintenance and the repair of the living body that depend upon the digestion offood and the study of that food. Nurses should have the relevant skills andtraining in nutrition support is able to determine the nutritional sufficiencyof a patient’s dietary intake via nutritional screening (nice.org.
uk, 2017). Nutritional screening is the first step inidentifying individuals who may be at risk of malnutrition and who may benefitfrom appropriate nutritional intervention. A nutritional assessment would becarried out, this involves the nurse carrying out a physical assessment, takinga diet history and calculating the BMI of the patient. Science underpinsidentification of some nutritional deficiencies, i.e. iron levels can beidentified by measuring haemoglobin levels. Iron helps the body make red bloodcells and is included in foods such as greens, red meat and egg yolks (Stewart,2017).
Patients with poor appetite or dysphagia maynot be able to ingest enough food to meet nutritional needs; therefore oralnutritional supplements between meals may be prescribed (Alexander et al,2012). These nutritional supplements consist of drinks, puddings or powdersthat are mixed with milk or water that have added kilocalories and othernutrients. Ethical challenges can come into theprocedure when assisting someone to transfer food or drink into their mouthswhen they are unable to do so themselves (Schwartz, 2012).
This requiresconsiderable skill and the consent of the patient is required. It should berecognised that having to be fed by someone can be a threat to the individual’sintegrity and self-esteem, so every effort should be made to minimise thenegative aspects. The nurse should sit level with the person and encourage arelaxed social atmosphere (Alexander et al, 2012).
Ethical challenges are all about informedconsent, as by law patients and families have the right to know what kind oftreatment and care will be given to them. The patients’ preferences would needto be taken into consideration, such as their beliefs and their religion as itwould have an effect on their diet (Shintani, Shuzo, 2013). Some religions have dietary guidelines thatmay need to be followed to varying extents such as fasting, the premises ofwhich foods are sold and prepared (Jewish kosher laws) or dietary exclusionssuch as alcohol or certain types of animal flesh (Rucker and Rucker, 2017). If an individual’s intake is poor, it isimportant to “make every mouthful count” (Meritt et al, 2012). It is importantto respect religious beliefs and work with the patient to identify appropriatefoods and supplements. This can be achieved through strategies such as encouragingthe person to choose high-energy foods to eat and increasing the nutritionalvalues of foods by adding butter or cheese to vegetables and ice cream topuddings and milk in drinks.
The main principle of assisting to feed apatient is to make sure that they are treated with respect and dignity.Examples of this would include protecting the patient’s clothes with a napkinand removing any particles of food or drink from the patient’s face in order tomaintain dignity and cleanliness (Dougherty and Lister, 2015). The essentialequipment that is needed before feeding an adult patient is to have a cleantable or tray, equipment that is required to assist the patient such asadequate drinking water, adapted cups, cutlery and napkin and a chair for thenurse to sit with the patient (Mishra, Ruchika, 2016). Carper’s (1978) articulation of the”aesthetic” pattern on knowing was a development within nursing that opened aspace for qualitative methodology. Carper stated that it’s a nurse’s ability torespond to the patient in the fullness of their situation and argued that thisform of knowledge had a unique character and it could not be expressed in theempiric pattern (Nursing Knowledge, 2017). Artistry is the creative skill and ability innursing.
If nurses were to suspect or detect malnutrition, they can protectpatients against illness and disease by enhancing their quality of life byunderstanding how illness and medication affect appetite and nutritional needs.They would need to become food aware as meals are just as important asmedication and assess patients for signs and risks of malnourishment (Bender,David A, 2014). Equally, providing an appropriate diet forthe age of the patient – this would all be considered when feeding a patientbecause as a nurse you would need to know what patients recommended intake is.Encouraging hydration also plays a huge part as water helps to transportnutrients to give humans and energy and to keep them healthy. If humans are nothydrated, they may begin to feel tired, dizzy, and have muscle cramps or otherserious symptoms. How the nurse treats and speaks to patients has an effect onthe care they are receiving also (Gorse et al, 2012).
Good nutrition is vital for the health andwell-being of someone receiving care. Nurses have a pivotal role in supportingpatients with nutritional needs within acute and community settings. By nursesgiving the best of their assistance and guidance in giving the patient theirfood, would then, in turn, help them to have a fulfilling and healthylifestyle. It can also be achieved by applying Carper’s 1978 four fundamentalpattern of knowing in nursing practice which are science, knowledge, ethicaland artistry.
This fundamental theory is also supported by the Nursing andMidwifery Council, which is conveyed in the fundamental of care code ofpractice that states to help and support patients (NMC, 2015).