Department of Health


  • Come to the table with everything you need.
  • Sit on the side of the person where they can best pay attention.
  • Talk to the person about what is going on; tell them what meal it is and what is on the plate; ask if they want that particular food item; let them know what you are doing.
  • Use the appropriate size spoon.
  • Raise the spoon to a level where the person can see it.
  • Give the person enough time to open their mouth.
  • If the person can bring their hand up to their mouth, let them wipe their own mouth, or provide subtle help.
  • Offer drinks regularly to moisten the mouth, wash food down and provide hydration.
  • Complete a meal with appropriate closing remarks.


  • Walk away from a person once mealtime has begun unless you excuse yourself.
  • Speak in conversation that does not include the person.
  • Give a person food you have not identified first.
  • Put too much food on the spoon - if a lot remains on the person’s lips you probably have.
  • Mix foods together unless you know that is what the person likes.
  • Hover a spoon in front of a person.
  • Use a spoon to scrape food off a person’s lips, teeth or gums.
  • Use a bib to wipe a person’s mouth.
  • Pack up and walk away at the end of a meal without acknowledgement.

Reviewed 18 February 2016


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