CNA Skill: Feeding a patient

Some patients will need help when eating.  Each patient is different in terms of how much help they need while eating.  There are some patients who will not need any assistance at all while others will need a lot of help.

You should always encourage a patient to eat on their own if they are physically able to do so and if they can eat safely on their own.  It is always best to encourage individuals to be as independent as they possibly can.  Some patients might be able to eat primarily on their own while still needing a little bit of help.  For example, you might need to cut their food into smaller pieces.  If a patient is blind, they should still be encouraged to be as independent as possible.  They might be able to eat primarily on their own if you provide verbal cues while they eat.

If a patient has weakness on one side of their body or suffers from paralysis, they might need some additional help when eating.  Some patients will need you to cut up all their food for them.  Patients who struggle the most, require you to feed them their food directly to make sure they are safely able to eat.  You should always be patient when feeding a patient.  Some individuals will take longer than others to eat.  Never make your patient feel rushed when they are eating.

It is your job to make sure that patients needing the highest level of assistance when eating remain safe while taking their meal.  You need to be sure that they carefully chew their food.  You will also want to make certain they swallow each bite of food.  Do not give them their next serving of food until they have finished their current bite.

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