DIET FOR THE SICK.—The nourishment of sick patients is often one of the most difficult of subjects. The seriously sick should be given only such nourishment as is permitted by the family physician. It should be left to him, or to the nurse under his directions, to select the food. If his directions are carefully carried out the patient will not be overfed, nor will he be deprived of what is necessary, or given things that are harmful. The manner of serving the prescribed food to the patient is also very important. Above all, it must be appetising. It is essential, therefore, to pay attention to the thorough cleanliness of the dishes, glasses, plates, etc., and to the proper temperature of the food and beverages. If they are to be warm, the proper temperature is F. The food should not be placed in masses upon one plate, as daintiness of service is of much importance in stimulating a jaded appetite.
Bedridden patients require an eating-board, and should be propped up with pillows while eating, so that they may enjoy their food in a raised position. Very weak patients should be hand fed. It is inadvisable to
give them more than one teaspoonful at a time ; and this should be given with the right hand, while the left arm reaches under the pillow and raises the patient's head. This feeding should be done at intervals of not more than two to three hours ; also at night whenever the patient complains of dryness in the mouth and is troubled by sleeplessness. If ice is ordered, the fragments should be small, and should be administered in a teaspoon. Toothless old persons, small children, and patients who are not able to chew, should be given food macerated in milk, or finely minced. To prevent the spilling of fluids by the patients, special feeding cups provided with a beak are very useful. Glass tubes are also serviceable. If apatient is uncon scious, his head should be turned to one side, the corner of the mouth opened with a finger, and the food given in a teaspoon. Frequent cleansing of the mouth is important, especially in those that are seriously sick. This can be done with a cotton swab wrapped about the little finger.