Stomach Digestion and Bowels
Here are some tips for you to help manage any discomfort your loved one may be feeling:
Tips for Nausea or Vomiting
- Try circulating fresh air by turning on a fan or opening a window.
- Apply a cool compress to the forehead.
- Offer small sips of clear beverages such as ginger ale, seltzer or broth.
- Offer food at moderate or room temperature.
- Offer high-carbohydrate foods such as white toast, crackers and dry cereal; avoid fatty and spicy foods and preparing foods with strong odors.
- Drink cold water or carbonated beverages between meals rather than during meals.
- Rest after eating; don’t lie flat for at least one hour after eating.
- Ask your RN Case Manager about anti-nausea or vomiting medication.
Tips to Avoid Constipation
- Increase your fluid intake; offer a hot beverage in the morning.
- Gradually increase the fiber in your meal planning, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dried fruits.
- Add unprocessed bran to soups, cooked cereals and casseroles (start with two teaspoons of bran per day and gradually increase to two tablespoons per day).
- Offer snack foods that include popcorn, dried fruits and nuts.
- Ask your RN Case Manager about laxative and stool softener use.
Tips for Incontinence
- Keep the person clean and dry using underpads or disposable adult diapers.
- Apply lotions or creams as recommended by your hospice nurse.
- Be sure to preserve the patient’s dignity with privacy when changing pads or diapers.
- Keep a log of changes in activity (frequency of bowel movements and urination, color of urine, any blood in discharge, etc.).
- Your nurse or doctor may recommend a catheter for problems with urination.
Tips to Avoid Diarrhea
- Limit high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Eat bland, soft foods such as rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, white toast, bananas and tender meats.
- Avoid gaseous foods such as cabbage, beans, corn and spices.
- Avoid milk and milk products.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Drink liquids at moderate temperatures.
- Eat foods at moderate temperatures.
- Avoid anything that over-stimulates the colon.
Changes in diet, decreased physical activity, and side effects from certain medications can contribute to changes in your loved one’s digestion.
Nausea is a common side effect for individuals just starting a new pain medication. This usually passes in a few days.