"force feeding" residents

  1. 0
    I recently watched as a CNA who, because she truely cared for the resident, adamantly insisted a (confused)resident eat dinner. She held the spoon to her lips and told the resident she would not remove it until she took a bite. When told by other CNA's to "let it go" she said the resident hadn't eaten anything and was too confused to understand that she needed to eat! She continued for nearly an hour trying everything short of prying open her month and stuffing the food in.

    This CNA (who is my hall partner) DOES mean well, she doesn't do it to be a "control freak"...she just gets frustrated and afraid for the resident when she doesn't eat. (which is daily).

    I feel bad for the resident who just wants to be left alone. How can I tactfully handle this while advocating for the resident and without making an enemy of my teammate?

    I don't want to report her, I want to support her!!
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    If you want to advocate for the resident you need to tell someone. What she is doing could be considered abuse.
  5. 0
    When I used to help with that type of Resident, I would ask the regular person on that side what the trick is. Some you have to tap the bottom lip with the spoon so they know to open, others you have to mix the food a certain way.
  6. 0
    Quote from i_love_patient_care
    When I used to help with that type of Resident, I would ask the regular person on that side what the trick is. Some you have to tap the bottom lip with the spoon so they know to open, others you have to mix the food a certain way.
    Exactly!
  7. 0
    THis IS her regular resident. She works with her daily. The resident has dementia and is aware that she is in the diningroom. The resident isn't able to make conversation that makes much sense, but she will move her head away to avoid the food when being fed, and will sometimes eat a bite or 2 herself, but never more than that. She sometimes will eat another bite when fed, but I've never seen her eat "enough".
  8. 0
    Your facility might consider an inservice on the correct way to handle this.

    Until then, I'd take the CNA aside and mention that this could very well be considered abuse and she needs to stop it. Ask her if she would do that if a family member were sitting there next to the resident.

    If she continues, you need to go higher up.

    Your role is to be a patient advocate.
  9. 3
    The CNA needs to realize that advanced dementia is a terminal illness and one of its symptoms is lack of appetite or interest in food. The resident isn't going to die from not eating. She's going to die because of her dementia and forcing food on her will not change that, only frustrate or agitate the resident.
  10. 0
    Sometimes they will eat for you and other days will be no food at all. In my experience I have held their hand while feeding them, focused on them while feeding. & because they any usually talk they can still hear you. Perhaps you try feeding this resident with a new approach ;-)

    Good luck!
  11. 1
    Does she get a magic cup or anything? Just curious. Someone should tell the cna that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results lol.
    loriangel14 likes this.
  12. 0
    I did go up to her last night just after dinner when she did the same thing again, and I just told her to be careful because some may see it as abuse and that the residents refusal to eat is a part of her illness. She seems receptive to it.

    The resident gets snacks brought to her several times a day, milk shakes, nutrition bars, etc. She rarely eats them even tho she will ask for them. (she gets them whether she asks for them or not).

    I've had training years ago from hospice. It really is difficult for care givers to watch someone they care for refuse to eat.


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