March 10, 2015

Nutrition guidance helps patients manage conditions

March is National Nutrition Month

Charlene Snelick, DTR, Community Nurses Dietetic Technician Registrar, and Kayleen Porter, RN, Clinical Supervisor, discuss a personalized program of nutritional education for a diabetic patient.

 Many chronic diseases are linked to lifestyle choices that are in our power to change. Making choices such as eating nutritious foods can help you better manage your illness, avoid complications and prolong your life. Home health patients served by the four home care agencies of Penn Highlands Healthcare benefit from the support of registered dietetic technicians who provide nutritional guidance and education to better control chronic health conditions.

Home care services at Penn Highlands Healthcare are provided by Community Nurses Home Health and Hospice, Brookville-New Bethlehem Home Health Care, Clearfield Home Health and Hospice, and DuBois Home Health and Hospice. During March, which is National Nutrition Month, the home health providers are focused on the national theme, “Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle”, while educating their patients about informed food choices.

Registered Dietetic Technicians from the home care agencies review the health history of a patient and then work with patient preferences and routines to help achieve an eating plan to meet their needs. The counselors help patients with conditions like type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, bariatric surgery, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, gestational diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, malnutrition, eating disorders, cancer, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unintended weight loss in older adults, critical illness, and many other medical conditions. They develop plans to meet the unique nutritional needs of each patient and provide education and support to families whose loved ones require special diets or assistance with oral nutrition or tube feeding.

Home health care is provided by a team of professionals who manage the comprehensive needs of a homebound patient in the comfort of the patient’s home. This team includes nurses, home health aides, therapists, medical social workers, and registered dietetic technicians. Together, they provide a program of services and specialized care to provide for the individual needs of patients of all ages, from newborn to the elderly.

Penn Highlands Home Health Services are available to the residents of many counties in Northwestern and Central Pennsylvania. For more information on the individual home care agencies visit www.phhealthcare.org or www.communitynurses.org. Community Nurses, Inc. serves the residents of Cameron, Elk, and McKean Counties and parts of Clearfield, Jefferson and Potter Counties