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Nutrition for Nurses

17.3 Implement Nutritional Strategies to Impact Gastrointestinal Wellness

Nutrition for Nurses17.3 Implement Nutritional Strategies to Impact Gastrointestinal Wellness

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

  • 17.3.1 Assess the client for readiness to learn.
  • 17.3.2 Teach nutritional strategies to optimize gastrointestinal wellness.

Holistic Nursing Assessment of the Client

The exact foods included in a nutritional plan should be personalized to each client. Caring for the client holistically requires the nutritional plan to evolve based on the client’s dietary requirements. A holistic nutritional plan should include food items that are appropriate based on the client’s religious, cultural, and personal beliefs. For example, some religions forbid a single type of meat or all meat. In this case, the nutritional plan should include reasonable meat and nonmeat options, such as quinoa or pumpkin seeds, as appropriate to ensure proper protein intake.

Client Teaching

Client teaching for gastrointestinal health should focus not only on general health but also on the specific nutrients known to improve the health of the gastrointestinal system, as discussed in this chapter. Teaching should begin by determining nutritional goals and setting a plan with the client. A registered dietician should be consulted to ensure that the nutritional plan is appropriate for all the client’s needs, including any restrictions. The nurse should ensure that the client understands the education and the plan developed with the dietician and should routinely follow up to make sure the client is following this plan. The client must be an active part of this process so that the registered dietician and nurse can determine if there is a lack of understanding. Active participation also gives the client a chance to verbalize any specific food dislikes or barriers they may have in obtaining certain types of foods.

The nurse should ask the client to use the information they were taught to create a 3-day meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages. The client and the nurse can then sit down together and discuss good choices and not-so-good choices the client may have made for each meal. This practice allows active learning for the client and is one way to evaluate the client’s understanding of the nutritional plan.


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