In palliative care, the main focus of the medical team is to reduce mental stress and improve the quality of life of patients. The recommendations for eating healthy for a palliative care patient may be much different than those for a healthy person. The hospice patient might be eating less due to pain or other physical symptoms or might be suffering from mental, social, or spiritual problems that can make it challenging to eat well. In this article, patients and caregivers will learn diet and nutrition tips to help the patient stay healthy and energized. These tips should be followed while keeping the patient’s dietary restrictions in mind.
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Patients in Palliative Care
Protein is the building block that can repair damaged tissues, help maintain muscle, and boost the patient’s immune system. Due to illness, most patients’ need for protein increases as they lose weight and grow weaker. By including foods high in protein in the patient’s diet, caregivers can promote growth in the patient’s body.
Add Energy to Every Meal
With high-fat desserts, snacks, and drinks along with every meal, caregivers can provide a boost of energy to the patients without increasing the volume of food intake. Savory items you can add to the patient’s diet are yogurt, mayonnaise, nut spreads, creamy dips, sour cream, etc. Sweet snacks that can be a good source of fat and energy are buttery cookies, milk powder, sugar, honey, caramel, ice cream, chocolate, etc.
Incorporate Foods from the 5 Food Groups Every Day
Patients who are severely ill struggle to eat enough food. It is best to serve small portions of food according to how much a patient feels up to eating but incorporate a little bit from all 5 food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy) every day.