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Home Health Aide Training – Complex Modified Diets
Often, as a home health aide, your job will include helping the patient prepare meals. Although the diet plan rules apply to most of your patients (for example, following the Food Pyramid), there are also many modified diets, some of which are more difficult to follow. Here’s what you need to know:
Increasing or Reducing Consumption of Certain Foods
The most common type of modified diet involves increasing or decreasing the intake of certain types of food. For example, a patient with high blood pressure may be advised to reduce the amount of sodium in the diet. This may involve more than just leaving the salt shaker in the cupboard. You should also check the nutrition information on all processed foods to see how much sodium they contain.
Sometimes it may be necessary to increase the intake of certain foods. For example, some patients may need to increase the amount of protein they eat. Again, nutritional assessment of processed foods should be important. It is also important to look at which foods have the highest amount of essential nutrients (such as protein, lean meats and poultry are high in protein).
Direct Foods Not Allowed
Sometimes, you may need to consider whether certain foods are allowed or not. For example, some patients may need to follow a gluten-free diet, which means making sure that all wheat products are specially formulated to be gluten-free.
Liquid or Soft Foods
Some of your patients may need a modified diet that includes only soft foods or liquids. This often happens when patients have difficulty chewing or swallowing due to injury or aging. In such cases, it is important to ensure that your patients are still getting the necessary nutrients in their diet to stay healthy. For example, you may need to puree fruits and vegetables along with meat and poultry to make them liquid so that the food is digestible.
Food Without Dressing
Some of your health care patients may have dietary requirements that include unhealthy foods. This often happens when they are suffering from stomach problems. In this case, sharp spices such as pepper should be avoided. Salt should be less and less when working on such foods.
Your patient may need a low-cholesterol diet if their doctor determines that they have high cholesterol. In most cases this means avoiding fat (low-fat milk, lean meat and poultry, etc.) and checking the labels of processed foods to ensure that cholesterol is reduced.
There are several schools of thought regarding diabetics and you should follow the dietary guidelines given by your doctor when working with patients who require such a diet. For example, the American Diabetes Association includes an exchange of different types of foods that are allowed to be eaten to maintain good health. Some modified diets for diabetes may include low-carbohydrate diets or low-glycemic diets. Diets high in carbohydrates and low in calories are very common in diabetics.
Since there are several ways to prepare food for those with modified diets, it is important to understand the different ways in which food can be prepared for these difficult modified foods. Some common methods include:
Cutting, polishing or grinding– In all three cases, this involves eating whole foods and breaking them into small pieces. In terms of cost, it sounds the same. You cut the food with a knife. Mashing food means using a fork to grind cooked food and grinding usually means using a food processor to grind dry food.
Puree– When a processed food requires a person to eat dehydrated food, then you must first cook the food until it is soft and then use it in cooking. The texture should be similar to mashing, although smoother than that.
It’s important to remember that when using processed foods, some issues may arise. This includes:
Dismissal of Appeal– In many cases, cooked or peeled foods lose their appeal to patients and need to be dressed in a certain way to ensure that they can still eat them.
Loss of Structural Nutrients-Since edible food requires time to cook, nutrients can be lost during processing. You should consider this when planning meals while maintaining the caloric needs of your patients.
Cutting Food– When cutting food you must use a clean knife and a cutting board. Avoid cutting other foods on the same cutting board as raw meat. When handling raw meat, remember that wooden cutting boards absorb liquids from the meat and should be avoided.
Keep Things Clean– At all times, all equipment used to prepare your patient’s modified diet must be clean. This means for example that you should be careful when washing the equipment after use and do not let it sit on the floor to dry.
Storage-If mechanically prepared foods for your patient’s modified diet must be stored, be sure to store them in airtight containers and ensure that the foods are kept fresh by freezing or freezing rather than just leaving them in the cupboard.
Avoid Bacteria-Finally, cooked or cooked foods should be served immediately or refrigerated to ensure that bacterial infections do not develop on them. Hot foods should be served hot and cold foods should be served cold to ensure they are safe to eat. Do not serve meat that has been left in the refrigerator for more than two hours and be sure to keep milk and eggs in the refrigerator as well.
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