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Stories from an OSCAR Dietitian: Helping a resident regain strength after COVID

One of our amazing Accredited Practising Dietitians, Natasha Rae, had the pleasure of meeting a 74-year-old female resident and was able to help her rebuild her strength after suffering from COVID-19.

A lovely resident, Maria, has a medical history which included COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is a lung disease which makes it harder for people to breath and therefore resulting in an extended isolation whilst she recovered from COVID-19.

Due to Maria’s positive COVID-19 infection and resulting isolation, she had an unintentional weight loss of 5% body weight. This left her malnourished and fatigued. She had always been of a slight build, however her weight dropped and was well below her healthy weight range for her age group.

During the referral, Maria mentioned to our Dietitian Natasha that her appetite had “not been good” since her the passing of her husband. Now that she had become infected with COVID-19, she just didn’t feel like eating at all.

Malnutrition can adversely affect lung function and nutrition support should be considered with patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is also important to increase energy and protein intake to help her recover from the effects of COVID-19. Her lack of appetite and suboptimal food intake was concerning and our Dietitian wanted to increase her strength and improve her overall quality of life.

Maria understood she had to try something. Small things can help, like trying to eat small meals more often, especially on the days when she was feeling her best. Including a food first approach and High Energy High Protein options in Maria’s meal plan assisted to boost her nutritional status too.

More than just food

One of the best parts of being an Aged-Care Dietitian, is hearing all the stories of the residents. Maria shared stories of her late husband and how they used to go dancing regularly. When they got home from a night of dancing, he would make her a hot chocolate to share together before they went to bed.

Maria also spoke of her career working as a cook for a small primary school when she was young. Natasha, our Dietitian, had a great discussion with Maria about the easy ways to increase her protein. Being a cook, Maria understood that the intake of protein is optimal strength and recovery.

After their chat, Natasha spoke with the kitchen staff and informed them of Maria’s favourite snacks and of the story of her late-husband and the hot chocolate at supper time. Our Dietitian Natasha wanted to bring more joy to Maria’s meals and snacks. This is to encourage her to eat more to regain strength.

One month later

A month later, Natasha returned to visit Maria and is grateful to report this resident was making a good recovery. The extra energy and protein in Maria’s diet had helped build her strength. This gave her the energy to eat more food during the day and she had gained 2kg in weight. She was so thankful that the staff were taking care of her personal needs, and especially to receive a hot chocolate each evening. She was really starting to enjoy her food again.

Each resident requires individualised support to meet their specific energy, protein and nutrition requirements. This is where having our expert Dietitians available is essential for five star care. OSCAR Care Group provides expert Dietetic advice in line with the latest evidence-based practice.


*Please note that the resident’s name was changed to Maria for confidentiality.


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