In the know: Enhancing patients' eating experience

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, March 30, 2009

How many times have nurses heard that the food tastes lousy, or from more polite patients, that it just doesn’t taste the same? If you haven’t yet, you will.

Some medications, such as certain antibiotics and antihypertensives; medications that cause dry mouth; treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy; and certain disorders such as severe sinus infections, allergies, nasal polyps, and cancer, may cause a variety of appetite and taste problems. To help enhance a patient’s appetite, make sure he or she has good oral hygiene before meals, remove any unpleasant smells or sights, and arrange their food in an attractive manner. In addition, working with the dietician, you can try these tips to stimulate appetites and create a pleasant eating experience:

  • Serve meat and poultry cold or at room temperature instead of piping hot. Substitute eggs if they taste better to the patient. Marinate meat or poultry in fruit juice, wine, vinegar-based salad dressing, or other sauces to enhance taste.
  • Substitute fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta dishes, and milk products for meats if these taste better to the patient.
  • Offer fruit sorbet, sherbet, and fruit smoothies. Buy or make fruit juice popsicles.
  • Peel carrots before eating or cooking, or try baby carrots to eliminate a bitter taste that some complain about.
  • Offer mouth rinses of fruit juice, wine, tea, ginger ale, club soda, or salted water before eating.

Source: Stressed Out About Difficult Patients, HCPro, Inc. 2007. Be sure to pick up your copy today!


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