Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Importance of Seating and Positioning for Eating and Drinking


Over the past few years Mealtime Partners Newsletters have included several articles about the importance of correct seating and positioning for safe eating and drinking. There are several different issues that should be considered and this article will review some considerations that should be kept in mind when preparing a mealtime environment for someone who does not eat independently, or, who cannot take a drink without assistance.
The previous article in this Newsletter discusses eating difficulties. For people who experience these difficulties it is essential for them to be positioned appropriately at mealtimes for them to become proficient eaters. Inappropriate positioning can make eating more difficult and even dangerous, especially for those who have a tonic bite reflex or a tongue thrust. If providing food is difficult, there is a high likelihood that the individual will eat less because of the complexities associated with their meals; they are then much more likely to be under nourished, which leads to many other health issues.
Eating – For individuals who cannot feed themselves, it is important that they be seated in a stable position that puts their head in a position that enables them to open and close their mouth with ease, chew freely, and swallow without difficulty or triggering a gag reflex. Read the entire article....
Drinking - Good hydration is an essential part of maintaining a healthy body and general feeling of well-being. It is especially important to address the issue of providing enough fluids for those who are dependent upon another person for providing of all of their liquids. Because they are unable to take a drink when their body feels the need for liquid, they tend to drink less than they would if they could take a drink whenever they wanted. Read the entire article....
... For those who are able to drink through a straw or drinking tube, one of the hands free drinking systems from Mealtime Partners may help them drink independently.
More detailed information about seating and positioning for eating and drinking can be found in several of the earlier Mealtime Partners Newsletters as follows: the June 2009 Newsletter topic: Promoting a Chin Tuck for Safer Eating; the July 2009 Newsletter topic: Positioning for Eating; and the August 2010 Newsletter topic: How We Eat.