ASIDES: Making Meals Resident Centered

by Patti on March 10, 2012

in Advice for CNA's, ASIDES

This is the first of a new series, “ASIDES”, we’re producing here. These will be short and sweet posts about actions every CNA can take to be more resident centered.

Meal times are not gossip hours.

At work the other day I picked up on a trend I have seen a lot of lately: During resident meals, the CNA’s chit chat about their own personal lives with other aides. I overheard an aide bragging about how drunk she got at a party over the previous weekend.

These things should never happen. CNA’s have breaks for this type of banter. When they are with the residents, it’s never appropriate to discuss personal problems or share daily briefings and updates about recent events in their lives. The resident is the focus of meals. The CNA’s should strive to make meals as resident centered as possible. Meal times are social times. We want to keep it light and relatively fun.


When we’re serving up meals, ask the residents if they want condiments such as salt, pepper, margarine/butter (if allowed); ask what they prefer to drink, and provide it . Don’t just cut up the food and slap the plate down in front of them. For residents who need assistance with eating, CNA’s should sit down next to residents, not stand. Food should be offered in a normal manner: A couple bites of scrambled eggs, then toast, then a drink…then eggs, and so on. Pureed foods should never be mixed. When offering drinks, don’t allow much to drool out. Be very aware of dignity and respect. Have plenty of napkins ready. Don’t treat the resident like a baby.

Meal time discussions should happen. Current events, the weather, the up coming holiday are good topics. Sometimes background music is appropriate. Sometimes diminished lighting can create a warmer ambiance for the meal. Find out what works for each group of residents. The goal of the CNA is make meals as enjoyable and stress free as possible.

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