A: Residents who need assistance and/or supervision with eating are assigned to eat their meals at what is known as “a feeder table.” A feeder table typically has a “C” shape to it and seats 4-6 residents. The CNA or meal time assistant will be seated on the inside of “C” and the residents will be seated on the outside of the “C”.
The purpose of having the CNA seated on the inside of the “C” is so that they can supervise and assist multiple residents at one time. Generally, they will help one resident eat a portion of their meal before moving onto the next resident. While they are feeding one resident, all of the other residents assigned to that table are in easy view of the CNA so that the aide can assist anyone who starts to show signs of choking or difficulty during the meal.
It also allows the person assigned to the feeder table to closely monitor the amount of their intake of food and liquids, which is important in maintaining good nutritional status to prevent bed sores and prevent malnutrition and dehydration.
Assigning a resident to a feeder table is a common measure for residents who have difficulty with eating due to general weakness or due to other neuromuscular disorders. It is also a common measure directed to residents who are at risk for choking due to deficits in their swallow function or who suffer from advanced dementia which may making unsupervised eating dangerous.
When a resident is assigned to a feeder table and there is a choking accident in a nursing home, there will be serious questions that have to be answered regarding the supervision being provided to the victim.