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Helping a Loved One Adjust to a Nursing Home – Tip #3

Your presence during the initial admission assessments could help assure that your loved one receives quality of care at the new nursing home. A family member or friend may be able to provide the staff with information that otherwise might not be known. Information that you would want to share with the dietitian should include any recent weight loss or gain, poor appetite, need for encouragement to take food and fluids, special diet, allergies and any choking or swallowing problems. It will also be helpful to inform the dietary department of food preferences and dislikes and favorite snacks or nutritional supplements once enjoyed at home. The dietitian will also need to know if your loved one has any skin issues, wounds or open areas, so that can be considered when calculating the daily dietary requirements of food and fluids. Most facilities will allow family or friends to be present during meal times and some will permit you to buy a meal so you may eat with your loved one. This provides time for a family member to observe how the resident is eating, how the staff interacts with the other residents in the dining room and provides an opportunity to taste what is being served. The care and precautions provided by the facility should be based on the resident’s needs and risk factors. Communication is the key to help prevent, identify and solve any potential problems that may develop and promoting a positive adjustment to the nursing home.