Ask Sawal

Discussion Forum
Notification Icon1
Write Answer Icon
Add Question Icon

What should you do if resident is eating in bed?

5 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Shared mealtime is a bedrock of so many relationships. Good food, laughter, shared experiences—they all happen across the dining table.

But what happens when your senior loved one is bedridden—either long- or short-term? Eating can become a dreaded experience if your older adult is unable to join others for a meal or if eating has become difficult.

Studies show that social interaction at mealtime actually improves the amount of food seniors consume. And because between 12% and 50% of seniors suffer from malnutrition, creating a pleasant eating experience for your loved one takes on a higher level of importance.

While you can’t solve the problem entirely, there are things you can do to help your loved one engage in mealtime, which can also help ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need.

If your loved one is bedridden, be sure you know their nutritional requirements and what they can and can’t eat.

Eating can be dangerous for bedridden seniors if they can’t raise their heads. In those cases, other means of nutrition need to be considered. If your loved one is bedridden and can no longer raise their head, consult with their doctor for the best advice on eating.

Other seniors may have difficulty eating certain types of food and may need a special diet. If your loved one has trouble swallowing or digesting food, you’ll need to know what types of food are best for them. This is specific to your loved one’s situation, so check with the doctor to understand the food requirements.

If you’ve figured out the dietary requirements, it’s time to get ready to eat.

For seniors who are bedridden but can sit up in bed, position the head of the bed as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. If your loved one can’t sit upright, use pillows or foam wedges to support their head at a 75- to 90-degree angle. The head needs to be upright or slightly tilted forward.

This positioning is important to avoid choking, and it increases your loved one’s ability to interact with those around them.

You want your loved one to be able to eat as independently as possible, so investing in accessible utensils and an over-the-bed tray or table is a must.

Over-the-bed trays and tables come in a variety of styles. You can choose from a standard hospital-style table or invest in a more stylish and versatile option that can be used for more than just eating.

Utensils are available with an angled head to help seniors who have trouble rotating their wrists. You can also purchase utensils with fatter grips and/or straps as well as stabilizing utensils for those with hand tremors.

Bowls and plates with suction cups on the bottom can hold dishes in place, making it easier for seniors to scoop their food out of them.

How you present the meal to your loved one can help them be more engaged with eating. Follow these tips for setting up the table to help make mealtime more enjoyable for your bedridden senior.

Talk to your loved one about the meal. Depending on the level of care your bedridden senior needs, it may be helpful to point out the different parts of the meal, naming each item.

If your loved one needs help eating, matter-of-factly provide whatever help they may need. It may be as simple as handing them things, or your loved one may need you to help them eat.

Talk about the meal, but discuss other things as well. Treat this time like you would treat mealtime with friends. Encourage your loved one to engage with you about topics other than the food, if possible.

These interactions may be the most important part of the meal as research has found that “patients ate more when social interactions were friendly and lively.”

Don’t rush your senior through their meal. Do your best to keep them focused and eating, but use the time to interact with your loved one and make them feel a part of something bigger. Keeping bedridden seniors connected to social interactions can be one of the most difficult tasks for a caretaker, so use mealtime to foster those connections.

If your bedridden senior can continue to remain mostly upright after the meal, this is the best position to encourage digestion—ideally at a 60-degree angle or higher for a bit after the meal.

Caring for a bedridden senior can be exhausting, and mealtimes can sometimes be a battle. Allow yourself to take a break. Invite someone over occasionally to eat with your loved one, so you can enjoy a meal with friends or other family.

Making mealtime a moment when your loved one feels cared for and included is important to their health, but taking an occasional break is important for yours.

Hashtag Filgas
Answer # 2 #

Assisting your patient with daily tasks such as eating allows the patient to maintain a higher level of independence.  Remember that many patients will only require a small amount of assistance, and will appreciate that you provide it in a kind and courteous manner.  Your help in feeding a patient can positively impact the patient’s recovery process.

1) Performed beginning tasks. 2) Prepared the resident for the meal (i.e. allowed resident to use toilet and wash hands). 3) Positioned resident in sitting position as appropriate. 4) Matched food tray/diet items with resident’s diet order. 5) Matched food tray/dietary items with appropriate resident. 6) Protected resident’s clothing, as appropriate or as resident prefers. 7) Noted temperature of food and liquids to avoid food that is too hot or too cold. 8 ) Fed moderate-sized bites with appropriate utensil. 9) Interacted with resident as appropriate (i.e., conversation, coaxing, cueing, being positioned at eye level with the resident). 10) Alternated liquids with solids, asking resident preference. 11) Ensured the resident has swallowed food before proceeding. 12) Cleaned resident as appropriate when completed. 13) Removed tray, cleaned area. 14) Performed completion tasks

Expert Tip By Tanya Glover, CNA

Feeding time at the nursing home can be hectic. You have to get the patients who go to the dining room to their spot. You have to pass trays to those who eat in their rooms, and you have to feed those who are unable to feed themselves. Feeding patients has always put me ill at ease. It is not that I find it unpleasant in particular; it is more about me feeling bad that this adult person needs me to feed them. I was in diapers when they were in the prime of their lives and now I am treating them like a baby! I have found that many CNA’s fell the same way and you may too-in the beginning.

If you are uncomfortable with feeding an adult, the best thing to do is to talk to them throughout the meal. Even if they never respond, or are simply unable to respond, talking can calm your nerves. For patients who are aware and just cannot feed themselves, talking puts them at ease as well. There is nothing worse seeing an aid feed a patient with a stone cold face. The patient feels as if they are just another burden and they will eat less. I have seen this with my own eyes and know it to be truth.

If you have a patient who eats very slowly, try feeding them for 10 minutes at a time and go between them and your other patients. Try to get them to eat as much as possible and take notice of their feeding chart to see if there has been a decline in their appetite.

Answer # 3 #

Correct eating process helps the patent in recovering quickly. Some of your elder and weak clients might need your help, while eating. Every patient has his/her own specific requirements for assistance. Some of them require a little bit of help (for e.g. you might require to cut food into smaller portions for them), while others necessitate a lot of assistance.

Identify the level of support your client need in feeding. If the patients are physically able to eat food, allow them to have food at their own. Here is the step-wise procedure to feed a patient.

Steps 1- Thoroughly wash your hands  In order to prevent contamination of food, rinse your hands using antibacterial soap or cleanser.

Step 2- Explain the patient about your task Greet your client and tell him that you are going to assist them in feeding. Ask them to wash their hands and sit properly.

Step 3- Inquire the patient, if he/she needs your help All the patients do not require similar level of help. Some clients have no need of your help, while others have a little to a lot of requirement of assistance in having their meal.

Therefore, it’s better to ask them whether they actually need an aid and if yes, which type of aid?

Step 4- Observe the patients, when they chew and swallow the food Ensure that your patient appropriately chew and swallow the food. Check, if the client is encountering any difficulty with food’s texture or size.

Step 5- Wash hands When the client finishes his food, help him in washing his hand. You are also required to rinse your hands, after completion of the process.

Tip- Wash your hands properly up to the wrist, using antibacterial cleanser or soap.

Tip- Ask your patient to use toilet and rinse hands, before start eating.

Tip- Help the patient to sit in a correct manner, so that he/she doesn’t feel any difficulty in eating the food.

Tip- Always ensure that the food items match with the diet order of the resident.

Tip- Apply a bib or any other appropriate cover to protect the clothing of the patient

Tip- Hot food or liquid may cause burns in the mouth of the patient. Therefore, before serving the food, check its temperature.

Tip- Cut the food into small portions, if your patient needs so.

Tip- Use appropriate utensils and feed right sized bites to the patients.

Tip- Interact with the patient, as appropriate.

Tip- Feed liquid and solid food alternately, according to the client’s preference.

Tip- Feed the next bite, only when the resident has completely swallowed the first bite.

Tip- Clean the hands and mouth of the patient, once he/she completes food.

Tip- Clean the area where the client has ate food using disinfectant. Remove the dirty tray and put it at the right place.

Tip- Cleanse your hands, after completing the assignment.

Feeding a patient at the nursing home is really a very hectic job. You have to assist your client in reaching the dining hall from their room. All patients are not capable to have their meal at dining hall, so they eat food in their own room. In this case, you are required to assist these patients by passing food trays. You are also required to help out those clients, who are not able to eat at their own. Some new CNAs feel hesitation in feeding the elderly patients.

You can remove the feeling of discomfort by chatting with the patients, while feeding them. Don’t stop chat, even if the sufferer doesn’t respond. It will help in reducing your stress. While feeding the sufferer, have courtesy and patience. Never make your client to feel rushed, when they are eating. If you will do so, they will consider them as a burden and their diet intake also decreases.

If the appetite of the patient decreases, notify it to the supervisor nurse. While feeding the client, follow the diet chart recommended by the doctor. Always have empathy with your patient!

Roxann Michalik
Dental Nursing
Answer # 4 #
  • Positioning During Eating.
  • Ideal positioning during eating.
  • • Seated on a firm surface, such as the straight chair. provided in the room. • Feet flat on the floor. • Equal weight bearing on both buttocks (not tilted. to one side) • Sitting up straight or slightly forward (exception: .
  • Other tips.
Kashi Daneel
Answer # 5 #

The head of the bed should be up at least 30 degrees if the patient is eating in their bed so that they can swallow food and fluids. This prevents choking. Over the bed tables must be clean and put in place so the person can see and reach their meal.

Uday Raman