elderly nutrition

Should Food Be A Concern after Surgery?

Most patients have a misperception that post-surgery, they will be up and running about, back to their old selves and that recovery involves nothing but a short period of rest. However, many don’t think about a very important factor that contributes to their recovery – diet and nutrition. It doesn’t matter if your loved one has had a joint replaced; a heart bypass or a cancerous tumour removed, the body requires extra nutrients to heal. So,  focusing on nutrition can mean the difference between a fast or a slow recovery.

Occasionally, complications can occur after surgery, which makes it harder for the body to heal. This is why eating the right foods after surgery can decrease the risk of infection, speed healing of the wound area and increase overall strength and energy.

The bottom line is, recovery and faster wound healing will not occur without proper nutrition. If your loved one is not eating and drinking well, they are more likely to be re-admitted to the hospital and have longer hospital stays. This then increases the cost of their care. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to what they are eating and drinking to help them regain their strength and energy.

Additional Considerations

  1. Head and Neck Surgery:
  • They may need to eat only pureed meals during the recovery phase.
  • Encourage hydration to avoid dry mouth.
  • They may need thickeners if their swallowing is affected.
  • Encourage high protein and energy food and snacks.
  • Avoid foods that are sharp and crunchy and require a lot of chewing.
    Avoid foods and drinks that are spicy or acidic or contain alcohol, as they can cause mouth pain.

2. Bowel Surgery (removal of some of the bowel)

  • They may have problems digesting insoluble fibre such as those found in wholegrain and bran products. Encourage soluble fibre sources such as oats, barley, pears, carrots, spinach or a soluble fibre supplement.
  • Small, frequent meals. Five to six small meals a day makes it easier to meet their requirements.
  • Liquid between instead of with meals. Drinking with meals can hasten the time it takes for the stools to leave the body leading to diarrhea, and may limit their appetite with a feeling of fullness.
  • Low simple sugars. Simple sugars like juices or sweet foods can contribute to diarrhoea.
  • Low fat (especially for people missing their lower small intestine) as they may have problems digesting fat.
  • Low oxalate (especially for people missing their lower small intestine). Avoid high oxalate foods include: strawberries, spinach, rhubarb, chocolate, beets, tea, nuts, and wheat bran.
  • Multivitamin; magnesium, calcium, iron and Vitamin B12 supplements.

If your loved one has had surgery to the head and neck area or bowel, they are likely to be followed up by a Dietitian and Speech Pathologist from the hospital, who will guide them on what type of diet they should be following in the days and weeks after the surgery. If you have any concern regarding their recovery and diet, you should discuss it with their health care professionals.

Sample Diet Plan

About Jaga-Me

At Jaga-Me we believe in making healthcare accessible and available to everyone. We provide personalised and curated care for your loved ones. If you need a trained medical escort to accompany your loved ones for their medical appointments or a trained nurse to do nursing procedures, you can engage our care services.

Let Jaga-Me share your caregiving responsibility! Award winning Home Care trusted by health professionals – Jaga-Me

About Health Food Matters

At Health Food Matters the team of healthcare experts, chef, and food technologist develop scrumptious Delisoft Easy Meals which are nutritious and they come in different textures. We also carry a range of snacks and desserts from Our Special Pantry to provide a much needed boost for those who struggle with getting enough nutrition daily.
Health Food Matters carries a large selection of nourishing snacks, desserts and thickeners which can be grabbed off the shelf anytime. Visit their website for more information about their wide variety of food options to satisfy your loved ones taste buds.

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