NutritionalSupport for elder patients

Olderpatients and adults do not receive the required amount of nutritionalintake to support their body needs thus, they risk suffering fromprotein or energy deficiency. Such a problem can only be solvedthrough understanding options of treatment and determiningnutritional intake. Malnutrition in the elderly patients occurs whenthere is an imbalance between what their bodies need and thenutrients that they are given. For example, when they are given fewerproteins than their bodies require, such a scenario will result intothe imbalance of nutrients hence, affecting their health andwell-being. The increase in the number of people aging means that thenumber of individuals who will need nutritional support will keep onrising. For any person, the process of aging comes with a lot ofhealth challenges. Elderly people are in most cases vulnerable tomost chronic diseases and health issues because they also tend tohave a high chance of suffering from malnutrition. Malnutrition initself is not a disease, but it causes the victim to be vulnerable tosome diseases. An elderly patient must take the sufficient amount ofnutrients to ensure that they are not at the risk of gettingmalnourished [ CITATION Cha911 l 1033 ].

Causesof Malnutrition to the Elderly

Malnutrition,to most of the elderly people, is a condition that is caused by theinsufficient intake of nutrients. It means that the person took fewernutrients than the body required thus, resulting into deficits inthe body. A body of an elderly individual needs nutrients to ensuresome activities such as maintenance of the body and growth arecarried out efficiently.

Anaged person, who has a problem with their nutritional support,experiences some challenges in his or her body functions, such astoughness in biting, depression, cognitive impairment, visionimpairment, poor appetite, and high-stress levels. Some of the causesof malnutrition are so severe that they cannot be reversed, such asimpaired vision and teeth problems. Others, such as stress anddepression, can be improved by making sure that the elderly patienttakes the required amount of nutrients. For a person who lacks therequired amount of nutrients in their body, they risk beingvulnerable to some diseases because the immune system is weak andcannot fight pathogens. The metabolism of the body also weakensovertime giving rise to a vicious cycle of infections and diseases [ CITATION Jen06 l 1033 ].

Consequencesof Lack of Nutritional Support in Elderly

Alarge number of studies show that most diseases, in elderly, peopleare as a result of lack of nutritional support, whereby the amountthey are given is less than the amount needed by the body. Effects oflack of nutritional support to the elderly vary ranging from woundsthat do not heal to even death in some extreme cases. Poornutritional support has also been blamed for other adverse effectssuch as hospital pre-admission and pre-discharge effects. As theresults progress over time, the elderly person realizes that theykeep spending most of their time in hospital being admitted becausethe problem lies at home. Moreover, the patient incurs other lossregarding higher medication prescription rates, being rehabilitated,need for being taken to a nursing home and realizing that even afterthey are discharged they will still need home health care [ CITATION Nee06 l 1033 ].

Post-DischargeNutritional Support for the Elderly

Theshort hospitalization period that elderly patients get is not enoughto regain their nutritional status or raise their nutritional amountto the desired levels. Due to this fact, the patients find out thatthey will need to supplement their nutrients at home, and if they arevery old, then they need personalized healthcare to make sure thatthey do follow the required guidelines. The post-discharge setting isincreasingly becoming important because of its significant setting asthe patient can only be cured by such a time. The hospitalizationperiod is tricky as the patient is under the care of the doctors fora short period hence cannot adapt to the required care. However, eachpatient is advised differently on how to handle the post-dischargenutrition supplementation, and thus they should follow it to theletter [ CITATION Jen06 l 1033 ].

Treatmentof Malnutrition in Elderly

Studiesof clinical and community settings have shown that nutritionalsupplements can be used at any stage to improve the health status ofthe affected person. For instance, nutritional supplements can beused to help the admitted patients regain their lost energy orincrease the number of nutrients in the body. Dietary supplements canalso be used in the community setting or the post-discharge setting,but it must be under the management of a qualified healthprofessional. Malnourished hospitalized persons can use oralnutritional supplements to improve their body weight loss, shortenthe quantity of time they spend at the hospital and changing thefunctional status of such a person. Patients can also be given oralnutritional supplements as a way of improving their physicalactivity, reduce the amount of medicines they take and reduction ofthe number of falls, which at the time could be fatal [ CITATION Wil10 l 1033 ].

Forinstance, the use of oral nutritional supplements is very efficientin increasing the body weight of the affected person. The primaryassumption before the process is conducted is that the weight loss isas a result of poor feeding habits, which led to reduced nutritionintake in the patients. Thus, the best way to change such a scenariois to give the patient the nutrients directly and improve theirhealth. The negative side of the oral nutritional supplements is thatin most cases it is not effective in changing some scenarios such asphysical activities, improving physical activities and functionallimitations.

Fallincidents are some of the common cases of the elderly, and they cancause morbidity and mortality as well. Fall incidents can lead tohigh health care costs because they result in fractures which in mostcases cannot be treated. The main reason why falls are more common inmalnourished elderly people is that most of muscle mass and strengthis lost hence presenting a risk. Lack of proper nutrition forsenior’s people decreases the muscle mass and reduction in musclestrength can be as a result of malnutrition and deficiency in vitaminD. the treatment of falls has to be done before the elderly personsuffers for it be-be effective. Such treatment is seen as apreemptive measure that means in case the patient falls and injuriesit will be easier to cure them because their muscle strength isimproved. The reduction of fall incidences can be achieved by makingsure that the community is well nourished and supplementing the lackof vitamin D. Such measures ensure that the patients can improvetheir muscle strength, function, and body balance [ CITATION Nee06 l 1033 ].

Thetreatment of some ailments, suffered by the elderly population, canbe taken care of by taking the necessary nutrients to improve theirimmune system. Having a weak immune system means that the patient`sbody will not be able to fight pathogens hence, getting sickly. Therestoration and maintenance of the immune system are significant evenin old age. Moreover, the elderly patient is advised to take adequateproteins and supplement their energy since it plays an important rolein the body. Intake of a proper diet is also important since itensures that the patient will get all their nutritional needs fromthe diet hence will not need any supplements.

Nutrientsplay a significant role in ensuring that the immune system of a humanbeing stays active and hence all the necessary steps should be takento make sure that the patient eats a balanced diet.

NewNutritional Trends

Eachyear nutrition trends change and new ones come up, meaning that aperson needs to visit health care centers and enquire about them.Souping is one of the diet trends that are gaining popularity amongthe elderly due to its nutritional importance. The soups containwhole vegetables and fruits ensuring that the patient gets the needednutrients. Sprouted grains are another new trend that has been aroundfor a while but is slowly gaining more momentum. Sprouting providesthe patient with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and also speeds upthe digestion process. Nutritional professionals have also witnessedanother trend of the increased production of more products with lesssugar as more and more people become health sensitive. Companies areunder increasing pressure to reduce the amount of sugar that they putin their products [ CITATION Den15 l 1033 ].

Conclusionand recommendations

Havinga proper diet in the nutritional support of elder patients isimportant as it ensures that their bodies get the nutrients that theyneed. As a person gets older, it is paramount that they choose to eathealthy foods as a way of supplementing nutrients in the body. Olderpeople are mostly affected by malnutrition because of changedlifestyles and change in appetite. Elder people do not consume foodas young people but that does not necessarily mean that their bodieswill understand.

Somerecommendations for elder patients to ensure proper diet in thenutritional support include consuming less salt since it increasesthe risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Elder patients arealso advised to drink more water to ensure proper digestion and bloodvolume levels. Vitamins and minerals are also vital for nutritionalsupport of an elder person as they provide most of the requirednutrients to ensure that they are healthy.


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Nieuwenhuizen, W. F. (2010). Older Adults And Patients in Need of Nutritional Support: Review of Current Treatment Options and Factors Influencing Nutritional Intake.Clinical Nutrition Journal , 160-169.

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