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I work in a long term care facility and every holiday season we have a ton of visitors, family members, church groups etc. come through with candies and baked goodies that they leave for the residents. We do LOVE all of our visitors, however the food they bring in is becoming an issue. We have several diabetic residents, some with allergies, as well some that don't have a regular diet and require softened or even pureed foods. And it is a violation of privacy to put signs on doors or tables saying that this specific resident has a medical issue so please don't give them such and such foods. So how do we ask them to NOT bring food in? Instead bring something useful such as blankets, socks, decorations, ornaments, things that the residents will appreciate more than an unhealthy snack they gobble down without thinking? I want to be polite but also taken seriously. Thanks in advance!

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How about a sign along the lines of:

"Due to health and safety concerns, please bring any outside food to the nurses' station/front desk and not to resident rooms."

Aside from special diets, it seems food in rooms would eventually attract bugs!
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 24, 2019
I like it! I wouldn’t at all be offended to read a sign like you are suggesting. Before you know it, people will become accustomed to the new policy that is designed for the benefit of the residents. If you a few people squawk, so what? It’s impossible to please everyone.
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Funny that people are not aware of this. When I took food in, it was left at the Nurses desk as a Thank you. At her AL, in the lunch room for the staff. I never thought of dropping it off in peoples rooms. There was a resident at Moms AL that loved cookies. I asked if it was OK to bring him some.

I like the sign idea. My question is, why didn't Administration do this when the problem started. This should not be staffs responsibility. It should be part of the rules. It should be in the packets given to families of residents.
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PeeWee57 Oct 25, 2019
On my FIL's last birthday, we brought him a birthday cake at the memory care facility. One of the residents invited himself into the family visiting area where we were having the celebration. My husband wanted to give him a piece of cake, but I stopped him and immediately got a nurse - the resident was an amputee in a wheelchair, and the first thing I thought of was diabetes.

I don't blame Hubs for wanting to share Daddy's cake - he's a very kind and compassionate person - but he's not medically-minded and didn't think of the possible consequences. That may be the case with many people.

BTW, we left the remaining half of the cake at the nurses' station for them to enjoy.
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Could you place [big] signs on all entry doors with the suggestions that you have written here and asking that food not be brought in? I would say something like BECAUSE WE LOVE OUR RESIDENTS, WE ARE ASKING.........
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LoopyLoo Oct 24, 2019
Not sure I'd do the "Because we love our residents'... it implies (not on purpose, of course!) that those bringing food DON'T love them.
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Why not have them leave the food at the nurses station or with the front desk? The thing about sending notices is, you won’t have the addresses of every visitor so I think the best approach is to accept all food graciously and have the kitchen staff monitor who gets it.
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I see the needs to protect some residents so folks shouldn’t feed others but ..I also see that food is a celebratory thing ..and saying no food from anything other than manufactered stuff is prohibited is not the answer. Remember to your residents this is their “home” and they should be permitted to enjoy the holdays as much as anyone. My mother was in some facilities where the food left much to be desired so bringing her “treats” meant a lot to her. She needed to watch salt but was actually losing weight and needed to eat more. So perhaps a sign indicating that shouldn’t share food without permission but as far as own family member just be aware of any restrictions. Also...it isn’t that “hippy” prevents putting signs up that someone has a dietary restriction ..you can do thigns for safety. Such as fall risk signs. Also, as long as you have permission from resident or their medical poa you can post exact information as to what they can’t be allowed. Too many medical facilities just use the blanket privacy issues instead of being proactive. Interesting also because the main purpose of that law was to make people’s medical information more available when they need care and that has become even more difficult with hospital and labs not coordinating computer information with doctor offices.
These people in your care don’t have much to enjoy in what remains of their life ..taking away all homemade foods would be a sad thing.
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A standing order on most charts is one holiday meal a month! They didn't get to be this old to have the best parts of life stolen! Of course a resident on a feeding tube can't eat cookies and those should be collected but, in general the treats are for the residents. 20 years in geriatric nursing 180 bed facility and cannot recall one episode of food allergy reaction or diabetic commas. The biggest problem was keeping a roommate from eating ALL of the other roommates cookies/candies.
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worriedinCali Oct 25, 2019
A resident on a feeding tube can’t have cookies? That’s not universally true. My FIL had a feeding tube and was still able to eat solid food including cookies.
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Put a sign on the door coming into the facility.
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As you know, food has always, throughout many cultures, been associated with love and caring for others. So please acknowledge the spirit with which it is given. Perhaps you might send out, or post (or both) a newsletter welcoming such gestures, and at the same time attempting to steer the giving along the lines of those things you suggested. Thankfully our food industry seems to be catching on that there are alternatives to mainstream sugary foods, and they are becoming more sensitive to dietary needs. If you do a little research, you might mention specific brands of sugarless candies or holiday goodies in your newsletter, so those who love to offer food items, might bring a more suitable fare. Good luck to you in communicating and advocating for those you serve! Happy Holidays!
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Put the notice on the entrance door to the facility. If you know of any groups who will definitely be coming phone them and advise them in advance that this year you need to change your policy. I am a little concerned that you have people visiting residents who don't know what the requirements of the resident they are visiting are - I presume they are not wandering around dropping in on residents willy nilly that would certainly be an invasion of privacy and poor safeguarding on your facility's part.
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Lisa55 Oct 25, 2019
Good points, Taylor. Here in care centers they do not allow groups to come during cold and flu season due to risking frail residents. Only family members.
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Without disclosing any confidential info, why not just put a sign on each door that says - Please check with the nurse before giving our patients any food, candy or drink....We request this to ensure all patients receive the correct diet' or something similar.
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