Inside Scoop on Poop

SelectCare’s clinical staff has provided New Yorkers with compassionate and comprehensive home care for thirty years.  During that time, our staffers have learned that they need to consider every facet of a client’s life and bodily rhythms in order to spot new or growing health concerns before they take a serious turn – changes in sleep or eating habits, social engagement or mobility can all provide warning signs if our nurses know the client’s baseline habits.

To make this holistic approach possible, SelectCare’s nurses provide free, in-home health assessments and use the findings of these clinical meet-and-greets as a baseline when performing their client’s free monthly checkup.

Of all the topics covered in these meetings, one tends to raise the most eyebrows amongst our clients: poop.

Assistant Director of Nursing Bijal Patel, who studied nutrition during her undergrad at Rutgers University and spent two years working with nutritionists, explains that conversations about bowel movements shouldn’t be a sticking point (provided you get enough fiber).

 Patel encourages readers to try new fruit combinations – Variety is the Spice of Life!

“Most people are pretty open by the time we start discussing bowel movements,” Patel said. “Understanding how much a client eats and what they normally produce can give us a clearer picture of their health.”

Patel said that while it is normal for our bathroom habits to change as we age, issues like constipation and loose stools do not need to be a part of our client’s daily experience and could be caused by poor diets, lack of exercise or might even be a side effect caused by a client’s medication.

SelectCare’s staff narrows down the possible cause of these porcelain pitfalls by logging a client’s daily input and output during every shift and communicating with the nursing staff if a client has experienced constipation for three or more days. This information is used by our nurses to suggest possible fixes: typically by encouraging a larger daily fiber and fluid intake or promoting light physical activity after meals to encourage digestion.

“If you’re not moving, the food just sits there,” Patel said. “By ambulating after a meal, you’re telling your body that it’s time to begin processing the meal you ate.”

In the event a client does experience irregularity or constipation, Patel advises her clients not to “push it.”

While long bouts of constipation can lead to more serious conditions like an impacted bowel – a condition typically addressed using latex gloves and lots of trust in your physician, the strain caused by repeated, difficult attempts to ‘clear one’s cache’ presents a different set of health hazards. Straining to poop can lower your blood pressure significantly, and potentially lead to fainting when the client attempts to stand.

While this post might be a lot to digest, Patel encouraged readers to learn their own bodily rhythms, so emerging issues can be addressed quickly.

For anyone who might feel they need to perform a little spring cleaning, Patel offered a simple, fiber-rich recipe that’s sure to get the bowel rolling, but added that we all digest food differently and anyone experiencing difficulty should contact their physician.

Patel encourages readers to try new fruit combinations – Variety is the spice of life

Healthy Yogurt Parfait with Granola Recipe  (Yields 2 Servings)

2 Cups Vanilla Yogurt

1 Cup of Granola

8 Blackberries

8 Raspberries

In a large glass, layer the yogurt, granola and fruit.  Repeat layers.

If you are considering home care for yourself or a loved one, choose an agency with the experience and expertise to consider every facet of your health. Call SelectCare to arrange a free in-home health assessment today.


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One thought on “Inside Scoop on Poop

  1. Great article, Pat! Take away message is that bowel movements are a big concern for the elderly but it can be managed effectively in the home often. Our home health aides do a great job by monitoring our patients’ bowel movements.

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