This page is designed to answer the following questions:
As a care worker, it is your responsibility to promote adequate nutrition and hydration to the individuals that you support, especially for those that are unable to do this themselves (e.g. due to restricted mobility).
This should begin with a person-centred approach, whereby the individual and other relevant parties such as the individual’s family or dietitian are consulted to assess their nutrition and hydration requirements. This will include their likes, dislikes, special dietary requirements and allergies. All this information should be recorded in the individual’s care plan so that all care staff have access to the information.
Some things that may need to be taken into consideration are:
- Is the individual a vegetarian or vegan?
- Are there any particular foods/drinks that an individual likes or dislikes?
- Are they able to prepare food and drink for themselves or do they require assistance?
- Are they able to shop for their own food and drink or require assistance?
- Are they able to cut up their food for themselves or require assistance?
- Can they feed themselves?
- Do their religious beliefs prevent them from eating certain foods?
- Do they have any allergies?
- Do they have any health conditions that may affect their eating and drinking? e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes etc.
- Are they under/overweight?
- Do they regularly forget to eat?
- Do they have their own teeth? Do they have properly-fitted dentures?
Promoting adequate nutrition or hydration may mean that you have to do the individuals shopping with them, prepare and cook their food and/or regularly supply them with drinks. You may also have to cut up their food for them or feed them.
As well as practical tasks, it may also be necessary to support them in their choices. For example, if an individual is obese and wants an unhealthy sugary snack you may need to remind them that it is unhealthy and may be damaging to them and perhaps offer an alternative healthy snack instead.
However, we must remember that unless there are mitigating circumstances (e.g. a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard) we should always ensure that an individual’s right to choice is maintained. If the obese individual in the example above were to choose to have a sugary snack after you’ve explained the risks then you should respect the individual’s decision.