We all know that too much sodium in our diet is not healthy, right? As caregivers we watch our residents who are on low sodium diets, push food away, refusing to eat, because there is no “flavor”. The physician comes in and orders a low sodium diet because that is what we have always done for residents with a diagnosis of heart failure, but are we risking weight loss and decreased quality of life?
In a recent study published in the Lancet, researchers found that sodium restriction still holds its ground for residents with heart failure symptoms HOWEVER it did not prevent negative clinical events. Interesting, our goal of course, is to maintain safe parameters for our residents with a diagnosis of heart failure, we don’t want them to experience negative events.
A dear friend of mine had a diagnosis of heart failure and was on a very restricted dietary regimen. I remember her struggles with fluid and sodium restrictions, but she was religious about it. Ultimately, we lost her, she never had the chance to eat those potato chips or enjoy that glass of wine. Should we take a moment and remember that each of our residents are individuals, they ARE NOT a diagnosis. Maybe, just maybe, Mrs. Dash’s salt substitute isn’t getting it done? Take a few minutes, and have your dietitian provide you with a list of residents on therapeutic diets. Talk about each one remembering, they are unique. Perform a risk/benefit analysis, weigh out the options and collaborate with the physician to determine if a less restrictive diet would be okay! Stay the course, stay informed and be well!