Most of us know the importance of eating well, but not all of us are able to. As a personal support worker (PSW), you will provide life-changing assistance to some of the most vulnerable members of society. Your patients could be elderly, chronically ill, or have physical or mental disabilities that make it difficult to live independently.
As a caregiver, one of your most important roles in this situation might be helping patients eat well and get the right nutrients. This could involve shopping for healthy foods, preparing meals, or helping with the physical act of eating and drinking. Read on to discover why nutrition is an important part of the menu on a PSW course.
Learn How Good Nutrition Improves Physical Health in Personal Support Worker Courses
After graduating from PSW college, you could work with elderly patients or those with physical disabilities. A healthy diet is essential to maintaining physical strength. Getting the right proteins and vitamins can help to boost energy levels, which is particularly important for those with issues affecting physical ability. It could also increase immunity so that individuals are less likely to be affected by common colds or the flu, which can cause lasting damage in weaker patients like the elderly.
Alternatively, you could work with patients that are recovering from a fall or an operation. It’s essential that these patients get the right nutrition to speed up recovery. Protein, for example, helps to rebuild muscle and can speed up the healing of wounds or scars. Good sources of protein include lean meats like chicken or turkey, fatty fish like salmon, or meat-free alternatives like beans and tofu.
A Healthy Diet Leads to a Healthy Mind
Eating well doesn’t just improve your physical health. It can also improve how you feel mentally. Personal support workers often help individuals that are affected by mental health issues like depression and anxiety, which can make it difficult to live independently.
While eating fruit and vegetables will not cure someone affected by mental health issues, recent evidence shows that eating well can help to reduce symptoms of depression. There are certain foods that are believed to make you feel happier, including things with high levels of protein, omega 3, and antioxidants, like quinoa, fish, or small amounts of dark chocolate.
In contrast, other foods can have a negative impact on your mood. Eating lots of processed foods with high amounts of sugar could negatively impact your mental health. After eating sugar or caffeine, you may experience a ‘high’ followed by a ‘low’ caused by insulin levels rising and dropping suddenly.
If you learn about nutrition in a PSW course, you will be able to help patients eat the right foods to improve their mental health.
How to Help After PSW College
One of the challenges of being a personal support worker is encouraging patients to eat the right foods. Elderly patients may experience a loss of appetite, or difficulties chewing and swallowing, which can make them not want to eat.
You can encourage them by making it as easy as possible. Prepare their favourite foods, offer small portions cut into bite-sized pieces, and also get their loved ones involved. They may be more encouraged to eat if their grandchild has cooked or baked for them!
Similarly, patients affected by mental health issues might also lose their appetite. This could be caused by certain medications or simply by mood. As a personal support worker, you will need to make sure that they are eating enough food and getting the right nutrients.
Are you interested in personal support worker courses?
Contact Medix College for more information!