Food: A Challenging and Complex Fundamental Care

Patrícia Alves, Célia Simão Oliveira, Marta Lima-Basto


Food is permanently present in the daily life of the person, being much more than an act for the maintenance of life, dragging with it a multidimensional symbology and also being a way to obtain pleasure. In situations of health-illness and particularly in end-of-life situations, food may become a problem for the patient, family and for health professionals, in particular for nurses. This paper is a review of literature to present and justify the relevance of food as a basic but complex human need and to prospect its implications in the nursing care in this area, which constitutes a fundamental care. Bibliographic research was carried out at EBSCO (CINAHL and MEDLINE), academic Google and at the library of the Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Lisboa (Nursing College of Lisbon). This paper makes a critical and grounded analysis on the food phenomenon and the challenges it brings to the fundamental nursing care, and illustrates it with excerpts from an ongoing study of the first author on the food care process at end-of-life. In conclusion, nurse´s role regarding the food field should be individualized, being necessary the nurse to interact and get to know the patient to meet their expectations. This individual intervention with the patient has positive consequences for all involved in the process.

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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