Keeping well: eating and drinking

Following a healthy, nutritious diet is something we all try to do. However, this may change when people are unwell due to:

  • decreasing appetite
  • changes in body needs
  • the effect of any treatment (including oral medications, radiotherapy,
  • chemotherapy) or
  • other symptoms.

This can be very difficult for people and their carers as food plays such an important part in our lives normally.

Notes for carers – how you can help

Despite all of your efforts the food you prepare may not be eaten. This is nothing personal – it is very common with people who are ill. Try not to worry if the meals that you are used to preparing are no longer desired. Smaller meals are often more acceptable.

There is a wide range of food supplements (available on prescription via your GP). These provide extra nutrition and can be used as a meal replacement or taken between meals to increase intake. Ensure™, Enlive™, Fortisip™ and Fortijuice™ are some of the ones available.

Useful tips

  • encourage the patient to sit upright if possible
  • ensure a relaxed environment
  • alcohol can act as an appetite stimulant
  • use a small plate
  • offer small snacks or meals frequently and
  • prepare what is wanted, when it is wanted if possible.