Explain the importance of good nutrition and hydration

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

Good nutrition and hydration is essential to maintaining good health and also contributes towards well-being.

In your role as a care worker, you must have an awareness of the importance of food and drink to the individuals you support.

Food must be prepared safely to high levels of food hygiene standards and individuals should not be given foods that may be unsafe to them, for example if they have a peanut allergy. Food should be offered regularly and fit the individuals dietary requirements and you should encourage and promote a healthy diet, however you must also respect the individual’s choice to eat unhealthy foods if they desire.

Signs of malnutrition can include:

  • Pale skin
  • Dull eyes
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Edema (swollen arms/legs)
  • weight loss

Individuals must be kept well-hydrated by being offered plenty of drinks throughout the day. Dehydration can have short-term negative effects to an individual’s health and well-being and also result in longer term permanent effects.

Signs of dehydration can include:

  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Sticky saliva
  • Fainting
  • Dark urine
  • Repeated infections

Some individuals may be referred to a dietitian and you will have to work with the individual to support their recommendations.