Identifying the Need for Feeding Assistance

Residents in long-term care are encouraged to maintain their independence and feed themselves whenever possible.  There are, however, many reasons why a resident may require feeding assistance.  Depending on the severity of the symptoms, from physical problems such as being unable to hold the fork, to cognitive problems such as just forgetting how to eat (often associated with advanced dementia), different levels of feeding assistance may be required.  Facility staff must be attuned to identify the signs that a resident may need feeding assistance.

Identifying the Need for Feeding Assistance

Residents in long-term care are encouraged to maintain their independence and feed themselves whenever possible.  There are, however, many reasons why a resident may require feeding assistance.  Depending on the severity of the symptoms, from physical problems such as being unable to hold the fork, to cognitive problems such as just forgetting how to eat (often associated with advanced dementia), different levels of feeding assistance may be required.  Facility staff must be attuned to identify the signs that a resident may need feeding assistance.

Signs that a resident may need feeding assistance include:

  • Poor meal intake
  • Lack of interest in meals
  • Cognitive impairment (dementia, confusion, etc.)
  • Physical inability (unable to hold fork, tremors, etc.)
  • Vision problems
  • Weight loss

Levels of feeding assistance include:

  • Tray set-up
  • Limited assistance which may include cueing or assisting at the end of a meal after the resident has eaten part of a meal
  • Restorative feeding program in which the resident is encouraged to eat for themselves with assistance provided as needed
  • One on one assistance (resident fed by staff)

The proper identification of feeding problems and timely implementation of appropriate interventions can increase nutrient intake, help negate weight loss and promote the overall health and well-being of the resident.

 

At Nutrition Care Systems, Inc, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive tools to the LTC industry.  One of the tools we offer is a Resident Assistant Feeding Training.  Please contact us for more information.  (800) 761-9200