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Feeding a bed ridden patient

When it comes to nursing art and science, go hand in hand. To prepare a patient for a meal, make sure the pillows are comfortable behind his or her back when the patient is in the sitting position. If there is a bed table tray, place it in front of the patient. Adjust it to the appropriate height and angle for the patient to eat comfortably.

Presentation
A bed-ridden patient often has poor appetite. Careful presentation of food can help to overcome this. Make use of attractive table linens and tableware. The simplest foods can be brightened up considerably with a sprig of parsley or a slice of lemon to add color and decoration. A bouquet of flowers, or even a single bloom picked from the garden and placed in a vase, provides a delightful final addition.

Quantity
Serve only small helpings of food. Too large a helping heaped onto a plate may take away the appetite of the sick or elderly. If the patient is still hungry after the meal, a further portion can always be given. The patient may enjoy helping to plan the menu, and he or she may welcome the opportunity to be useful.

Condition of the food
The food must be fresh and served at the right temperature. Preparing food at home does not mean you can ignore the strictest rules of a good restaurant; hot food should always be served hot and cold food served cold.

  • The feeding cup is a useful utensil for the patient who is unable to cope alone with feeding. It is easier to use an ordinary cup because it is light and has a spout-like opening. This allows a greater control over the flow of liquid. The handles on each side of the cup allow the patient to hold the cup if able to do so. The handles also make it easier for you to pour.
  • If possible, prop the patient up in a sitting position. Lay a napkin over the patient's nightclothes in case of spillage. Check the temperature of the liquid. It should be neither too hot nor too tepid. Support the patient's neck with one hand, tilt the cup with your other hand, and gently pour into the patient's mouth. The cup is useful in giving the patient nutritious soups, as well as tea and coffee.
  • Often, a feeding cup is not available just when you need it most. One practical alternative is to let the patient drink through a flexible straw. Ordinary drinking straws are not satisfactory unless the patient can incline the head towards the straw. Flexible straws can be purchased at most drugstores and are best used with a slim cup or flask to prevent the straw from slipping out.
Finally, when you are about to feed a bed-ridden patient be energetic. Do not face this particular duty simply as a routine or a boring job. Energetic feeding can help the patient in fast recovery, as food plays vital role.

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