After CNA Training: Caring for Bed Bound Patients (Part Two)

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Yesterday we discussed the basic steps you need to take as a CNA after CNA training to care for your bed bound patients. Today, we are going to take this information a step further and discuss what to do when caring for bed bound patients during meal times. Each patient in this state will be different; some will have the ability to eat on their own, while others may need assistance drinking and eating. After CNA training, it will be your responsibility to ensure these patients are not only able to eat correctly, but do so in a safe way.

Meal Times After CNA Training

  • Encourage patients to do as much as they can when it comes to meal time. This will help them to feel more independent, which will improve their quality of life.  Even if a patient is totally dependent on you to feed them after CNA training, see if they are willing to hold their napkin or perform some other small task during the meal.
  • Understand what you need to help with and what you don’t. Talk to the patient and find out what areas of the meal they have difficulty with. Can they open their milk carton? Do they need help seasoning their food? Would they like you to remove their silverware from its wrapper? Talk to them before you do anything to help them after CNA training, and allow them to do as much as possible without you.
  • If the patient has poor eyesight, make sure to inform them of not only what items are on their tray, but where those items are located. Use the clock face as an example, just as you learned to do in CNA training.
  • If the individual is learning to eat independently again, he or she may need some privacy. Provide this, but make sure you are available in case of an emergency.
  • When assisting dependent patients with their meal, keep in mind that they are at your mercy. After CNA training, be careful how you present food to these individuals. They should be given small bites on a spoon instead of a fork. You should also allow them plenty of time to swallow each bite they take.
  • Offer small sips of liquid between bites when assisting dependent patients. This will help to not only ‘cleanse the palette’ between different types of food, but will also help them swallow more easily.
  • Always make sure the head of the bed is raised when assisting bed bound patients with meals after CNA training. This can help to prevent aspiration and will make the patient much more comfortable during the meal.
  • When the meal is finished, take great care to ensure the patient’s clothes, skin, and bed are clean and free of any food or drink. Ensuring this will help to prevent skin breakdowns and reduce the risk of pressure sores developing.
  • Be polite during the meal and offer conversation after CNA training, even if the patient can’t respond to you. Bed bound patients often feel lonely and left out of day to day activities, and your conversation could make them feel like they are part of the action once again.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s third and final part to caring for bed bound patients after CNA training.


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