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Feeding patients is a common task that CNAs need to perform each day. While this task may not seem too terribly difficult, it can be if your patients are stroke victims, paralyzed or suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Fortunately, there are several useful tips you can use when feeding patients, and they can be found in the section below.
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Determine Which Patients Need Help
First of all, before attempting to help patients eat, you need to determine whether or not they can eat on their own. In some cases, it will be obvious as to whether or not a patient needs help, but if you are not sure, do not hesitate to ask. Be polite and while serving the patients' trays, ask them if they would like help with their food. To minimize embarrassment, be cheerful, do not appear rushed and always offer a smile.
Never Forget to Wash Your Hands
Even if a patient does not need your help while eating, you should always wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and sanitizer before serving meal trays. Additionally, it is equally important for you to wash your hands again after feeding each of your patients. This all-important rule cannot be stressed enough, and your supervisor will take note if you do not comply!
Check Patients' Unique Eating Issues
Basically, what this means is that if your patients need help eating, you need to make sure that their food will be easy for them to eat. This typically involves cutting meat into tiny pieces so that they can chew it with little difficulty. It also means ensuring that they eat the proper foods for their prescribed diet. However, you should always give them the option of refusing foods they do not like.
Talk to Your Patients While Feeding Them
Nobody likes to be treated like objects, and that includes your patients! With that said, when helping patients eat, do not rush them. Allow them to take their time and enjoy their meals. Be cheerful and talk to them in a pleasant manner. Ask them about their favorite foods, hobbies or movies. In short, treat them as you would like someone to treat you if you were in the same situation.
Offer Additional Assistance
Lastly, after your patients finish eating, always ask them if they need assistance with anything else. Ask them if they would like fresh water, a snack, fresh clothing or whether or not they need help using the bathroom. If they do not need anything, take their trays away and let them know that you are available should they decide that they do need something.
Helpful tips for feeding patients as a CNA include determining which patients need help, checking patients' eating issues and offering additional assistance.