Be able to prepare to provide support for eating and drinking

Identify the level and type of support an individual requires when eating and drinking

I should always check the individuals care plan to establish the level of support required by the individual when eating and drinking. I should also ask colleagues, the individual’s family, friends and the individual if they would like help and how they would like me to help. I must ensure I’m not imposing a level of support which suits me or my organisation rather than the individual. I should provide the minimum of support possible in order for the task to be accomplished regardless of how long this will take or the mess the individual may make.

I may need to support individuals to prepare for meal time with things such as protective clothing. I should check if they need support with positioning to ensure they are comfortable whilst eating and drinking. It may be that the individual is able to feed themselves, if provided with the correct equipment to do so. By providing the individual with the correct equipment I’m providing active support and ensuring that I’m supporting them in a way that helps the individual maintain their independence There is specially adapted cutlery available for individuals who may have arthritic fingers, where they are not able to grip conventional cutlery. An individual suffering with dementia may need to be prompted to eat at regular intervals. The individual may be sight impaired making it difficult to eat independently. An individual suffering with dysphagia and have difficulty swallowing. They would require their food to be pureed or may need to be fed via P.E.G. tube. Some individuals may need to be fed if they do not have the use of their hands. There are many different levels and types of support depending on the individuals circumstances.

Demonstrate effective hand-washing and use of protective clothing when handling food and drink

Support the individual to prepare to eat and drink, in a way that meets their personal needs and preferences

The individual may require protective coverings such as an apron to protect their clothing from stains from dropped food or drink and napkins to wipe themselves if necessary.I should provide individuals with the opportunity to use the toilet and wash their hands prior to their meal. An important aid to eating is an individual’s dentures. They should be available and also well fitting. They may have religious activities they wish to carry out prior to their meal such as praying, washing themselves or giving thanks.

Provide suitable utensils to assist the individual to eat and drink.

Ordinary cutlery can be too heavy to hold or too difficult to grip for some individuals and particularly those with arthritic hands. There is a wide range of specialist cutlery available to allow individuals to remain as independent as possible and manage eating and drinking with minimal assistance. Some of which is listed below:

Types of utensil

Angled cutlery
For some people who finds it difficult to bring a fork or spoon at right angles to the mouth

Easy grip handled spoon and fork
For an individual who finds it difficult to grip cutlery.

Plate guard
If an individual is likely to shuffle food off the plate, the plate guard would stop food from escaping

Melamine cups, plates and bowls, two handled drinking cups with a flexible plastic straw To avoid breakages if an individual is prone to dropping things

For people with hand tremors
Cups with a spout
Very efficient if I need to avoid spillages

Special plates with hot water compartment at the base

Feeding cup

Non slip tray with handle

Gadget to remove lids from jars/bottles
To keep food warm while individuals eat their food, useful if they normally take long to eat. This will reduce the rate at which the food gets cold.

Avoids spills – liquid at the bottom is drank first so ensure no tea leaves.

For those with use of only one arm, to carry several items at once

Aids individuals with weak hands

What do you think?

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