Ensure you and the person being assisted are in a comfortable position for eating

People should be able to eat and enjoy their meals in a comfortable environment, and staff should be focused on encouraging and supporting a safe meal experience.

The key principle of providing a conducive eating environment and Protected Mealtimes is that activity is focused on the meal and the individual. Staff are encouraged to undertake a pre-meal service check with the catering team to clarify who is eating, if any special diets are required and who may need assistance during the meal service.

Nursing staff must be involved in the delivery of the whole meal service. The key aspects of Protected Mealtimes for nursing and care staff are:

Making sure that the environment encourages eating

  • Clearing table tops of clutter
  • Appropriate music
  • Ability to sit with friends/family as appropriate
  • Enable those that may be distracted to sit alone

Providing assistance

  • Opening packages
  • Assisting people to make their meal choices
  • Enable people to control their portion size
  • Ensuring that people can reach their meal
  • Ensuring people can assist to serve where appropriate
  • Physically assisting people to eat their meal
  • Ensuring adequate diet and fluid intake

Sit down with the person if providing assistance with feedback

It is important that the patient is assessed by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist for seating and advice on utensils.