As a CNA, you need to ensure that a resident gets proper nutrition, is properly hydrated and eats a balanced diet.

Encouraging the patient to eat a balanced diet, containing the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins will positively impact the health and wellness of a patient. At the same time, ensuring that the patient consumes the right amount of water each day will keep the patient’s body hydrated, replace fluid loss, aid digestion and help maintain the body temperature.
CNAs should ensure that the patient eats a diet which contains the following nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates: Grains, fruits, vegetables, sugars
  • Fats: Butter, oils, meat, milk, nuts
  • Proteins: Meat, fish, cheese, beans
  • Calcium: Dairy products, broccoli, kale
  • Iron: Beef, chicken, nuts
  • Vitamins: milk, eggs, liver, cereals, sweet potatoes, kale

The nursing assistant should ensure that there is a balance between the calories consumed by the patient and the calories expended. This will help maintain a proper body weight.

The dietary requirements of each patient are different, and the CNA should ensure that the patient is consuming the prescribed diet. For instance, a soft diet should have everything that has a soft and smooth texture. A low sodium diet should have very low amounts of salt. As a rule, the CNA should check the patient’s chart before giving them food.

CNAs should also note any dietary changes in elderly patients. In elderly patients, aging affects the sense of smell, thirst, and taste leading to a decrease in the appetite. This may further lead to malnourishment and body malfunction if their bodies do not get the daily calorie requirement. The CNA should encourage the patient to eat as much as possible. It is also a good strategy to feed the patient in small portions. Another strategy is to add healthy and prescribed supplements, seasonings to food that will encourage the patient to eat well. Adding the patient’s favorite food to the meal, if not forbidden by the physician, will also increase the patient’s appetite.