How to Improve Nutritional Status in Your Wound Patients Protection Status
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by Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND

Did you ever notice that 4 or 5 of the ten most popular New Year's resolutions involve food? We either want to eat more or less of certain foods, usually in an effort to lose weight or improve our appearance with exercise and diet. What about your clients who visit your wound care clinic and are struggling to heal chronic wounds? What advice should you give them? Your advice should be practical, achievable and cost-effective for them. Consider these options for your resolutions in guiding your patients in their own:

  1. I resolve to complete a validated nutrition screen (such as the MNA® SF) and if the screen indicates malnutrition risk, I'll refer the client to a registered dietitian for a nutrition assessment.
  2. I resolve to inquire if a client with diabetes has consulted a diabetes educator for assistance in managing the disease.
  3. I resolve to collaborate with the dietitian and request the development of simple recipes or tips for increasing protein and /or calories. See suggestions below.
  4. I resolve to ask my client to keep a diary of the food (type and amount of food) they eat for a week, or until their next visit. Stress that your reason for requesting this information is not to critique their diet but rather to offer suggestions that may hasten the healing process.
  5. I resolve to review the diary on the next visit and offer suggestions to increase calories and protein, if appropriate.
  6. I resolve to offer clients some form of hydration during their visit to the clinic. Consider a hydration station with juice or flavored water, which can be made by simply adding powdered flavoring packets to a glass or pitcher of chilled water. Since clients may also have diabetes, suggest no calorie sweeteners or reduced calorie beverages.
  7. I resolve to praise and support clients in their effort to improve their nutrition.

Following are some simple strategies to boost protein and calories that you can share with your clients, if appropriate to their specific diets:

  • Fruit Smoothies: Blend several different fruits (bananas, berries, dried cranberries etc.) with yogurt (or milk) and almonds.
  • High Protein Drinks: Mix 8 oz. milk with whey protein powder (1 Tbsp.)
  • Enhanced Protein Drink: Use the above recipe and add ice cream or sherbet.
  • Instant Breakfast: Mix instant breakfast with ice cream or sherbet. Use whole milk or half and half for added calories.
  • Peanut Butter Shake: Mix peanut butter and chocolate syrup with milk or instant breakfast.
  • Enriched Milk: Add 1/3-cup nonfat dry powdered milk to a cup of regular milk plus flavorings of choice.
  • Fortified Hot Cereal: Add nonfat dry milk, margarine or butter. Adding dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries increases the fiber and flavor.
  • Boost salads with grated cheese, chopped nuts, seeds, hard-boiled egg slices, tofu, or beans
  • Incorporate dried beans or lentils into soups.
  • Peanut butter on crackers, fresh fruit, such as apples or pears, or on celery is a simple protein snack.
  • Add grated cheese to vegetables, soup, potatoes, or casseroles.
  • Single serving pudding is a handy snack.

Celebrate with your clients when they achieve their goals and improve their nutritional status.

Have a Healthy and Glorious New Year!

About The Author
Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND is an award winning dietitian, consultant for MEP Healthcare Dietary Services, published author, and member of the Purdue University Hall of Fame, Department of Foods and Nutrition, having held positions on numerous boards and panels including the National Pressure Ulcer Panel and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’s Unintentional Weight Loss work group.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

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