Feed the Resident in a Chair

Care Plan: Feed a snack to a resident who is not able to feed him/herself. The resident is sitting in a chair in an inappropriate position for feeding. Record food and fluid intake on the form provided.


Click each question below to view the answer…

Why don’t we wear gloves for this skill?

Gloves are generally not necessary, unless your patient has difficulty keeping saliva in their mouth (i.e. drools due to stroke or developmental disability).  If you think you may come into contact with the patient’s saliva, you should wear gloves.  However, latex gloves give off an odor that diminishes the appetite and should not be worn when they are not necessary.  Gloves are optional for the exam.

Why don’t we close the privacy curtain for this skill like we do all others?

Eating is a social event.  Most people congregate in groups during mealtimes.  Eating alone has been shown to negatively impact appetite.  Unless a patient specifically needs to be isolated, it is best to promote socialization during meal times.

What if the patient refuses the water?

The patient may refuse water when offered.  Everyone has different eating habits.  Some people do not like to drink while eating.  You must offer it, but if the patient refuses, just move on to offering a bite of food.

What will I have to feed the patient during the test?

For the state exam, the evaluator will prepare a food tray with a single serving food item, such as applesauce, pudding or fruit cup.  The patient will be instructed to only take about 5 bites, then refuse any more food.

How often do I have to offer a drink?

You must offer a drink every 3 or 4 bites. The resident is not required to take a drink, but one should be offered frequently.

Does the resident have to wear a bib during feeding?

No. You are required to offer the resident a clothing protector (we do not call it a bib when working with adults) but the resident may decline its use. Anything may be used as a clothing protector: a paper napkin, a cloth napkin, a towel, a pre-made cloth or plastic clothing protector or any other protective apparatus. Ask the resident for their preference if unsure.

Why do I have to hold a conversation with the resident during this skill?

Eating is a social event. Most people gather in groups to eat and will engage in conversations or other socialization events during the eating process. It is important to normalize the eating process for the resident to improve appetite and food intake. You have to begin a conversation attempt during this skill. You may remark on the weather, ask about their family or background, use open-ended questions about previous life experiences, discuss current events or any other “safe” conversational topic.  It is always a good idea to avoid conversations about religion, politics or inflammatory subjects.

What if the resident wants me to pray with them?

The resident is permitted (and encouraged) to adhere to any religious rituals they wish. As such, they may pray or perform a ritual before eating, as this is a very common act in many religions. It is acceptable to close your eyes and bow your head during any resident-initiated religious display. It is NOT acceptable to force a resident to pray, shame them into a religious expression, challenge their religious beliefs or insist that a resident participate in any religious observation or ritual. It is never acceptable to refuse to allow a resident to comply with a religious ritual. Be a respectful bystander regarding religion – not an active participant. Your religious beliefs should not be discussed with residents. If you find their religious display personally offensive, notify your supervisor.