A New Trend in Long-Term Care?
There is a new trend in long-term care facilities and nursing homes to move towards a more “liberalized diet” where all residents receive a regular diet.
The aim is to improve quality of life by providing residents with foods they’re familiar with and enjoy, rather than providing restrictive therapeutic diets that often lead to poor intake, weight loss and malnourishment. It also allows the resident to have more choice.
For each resident, personalized interventions are to be applied to the regular diets to meet their specific health requirements.
While this may sound good in theory, how will it work in practice? And will it meet the requirements of the Long-Term Care Homes Act?
The following are some concerns with this movement towards a “liberalized diet” in long-term care facilities.
- All residents have the right to ask for and receive more food. This may pose a health risk in certain situations. For example, if a resident with diabetes wants a second portion of regular dessert.
- A “liberalized diet” gives each resident more choice. However, many residents have a compromised mental status and are unable to make informed choices to support their specific health requirements.
- For some residents, it may create issues if they don’t understand their personalized diet interventions. For example, one resident with diabetes may be restricted to only a small portion of cake, while the other can have a large portion.
- In some instances, it may increase the workload of staff as they determine and implement personalized diet interventions for each resident requiring interventions, and closely monitor these residents for any problems.
At Mijava, we will continue to provide therapeutic diet extensions for diabetic diets, renal diets, low lactose and reduced fat. Our therapeutic diets are “liberalized” to include the regular item, a slightly modified version of the regular item, or a smaller portion of the regular item, as often as possible. We believe this creates a good balance between providing residents with foods they’re familiar with and enjoy and restrictions to help manage specific health conditions.