Dietitians in long term care


Background

Long-term care includes services that help meet the needs of people with a chronic illness or disability who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time.

Many patients in long term care facilities are malnourished. Some are at risk of malnutrition due to swallowing disorders, disabilities and health issues. Since long term care residents eat all their meals in the facility, a dietitian must be available to oversee the meals. Dietitians can help plan menus to ensure nutritional needs are met and food is safe.

Position

Dietitians support:

  • Assessment of all residents upon admission to a long term care facility to determine their nutrition risk
  • A nutrition care plan for all residents developed and monitored by a dietitian
  • Facility menus (3 to 4 week cycle menu) that are balanced and meet the nutrition and fluid needs of residents
  • Menu approval by a dietitian
  • Consultation with a registered dietitian on all prescribed therapeutic diets including texture-modified and food allergy diets
  • Qualified food service staff that are trained in safe food handling practices

Actions

Dietitians, in particular dietitians in Ontario, have advocated for better funding to support healthier foods served in long term care facilities. In most other provinces, dietitians have contributed to the review of regulations for long term care facilities to support access to nutrition services.


Resources:

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