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 Need suggestions for assistance while feeding mom 
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:42 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Florida
Post Need suggestions for assistance while feeding mom
I'm having difficulty feeding my mom in her wheelchair at the dinner table. Her upper torso is bent over, she leans to the side, and sometimes she can't keep her head up. I use pillows to help eliminate the leaning, and I encourage her to lift her head when I give her bites of food, but she isn't able to hold it up for very long. This also makes her nose run a lot. She enjoys coming to the table to eat with the family and doesn't want to eat in bed, so I want to respect her wishes as long as possible. Does anyone have any suggestions as to something that might help with this problem?


Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:09 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
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Any way you can put her in a reclining chair and drag that over near the table? I can't think of anything other than pillows and straps that would home someone's torso erect, so probably the next best thing is having the torso reclined.


Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:37 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:42 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Florida
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Hadn't thought about straps and assume I can get them from a medical company and will do a search for them. I can't get a recliner into my dining room and when she's in her recliner, she keeps her head hanging downward too. About the only way it's back is when I lay the recliner all the way out and then she's practically flat. When I take her outside in the wheelchair, she keeps her head so far down that about all she can see is her lap and the grass at her feet. It seems so difficult for her to hold it up and look around. This is something that has come and gone for a while but is getting much worse now. Thanks for the help.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:41 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:18 pm
Posts: 835
Location: Acton, MA
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Kitkat, What about a neck pillow, the u shaped one, I use one when my husband dozes off, it helps to keep his head up. I've also thought about the foam neck brace that might be used when there is a neck or back injury. Just a thought. Good Luck


Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:25 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:42 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Florida
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Well, I found the straps that would seemingly be perfect to help hold mom up while eating and tried ordering them. I received a reply from the company saying federal regs prohibited them from selling them to an individual--has to be a company or medical facility. I will check with hospice on Monday to see if they can get them but figure since it's considered a restraining device, they probably can't. Frustrating!


Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:09 pm
Profile YIM

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
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Someone in the local support group gave away this item several years ago:

Vest-style Body Holder
large
maker - Encore Orthopedic

I think this can hold the body upright in a chair or wheelchair. You might dig around on the internet to see if this vest is still available.


Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:29 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3377
Location: Vermont
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What about using just a typical vest, putting something like belt through the armholes, and around the back of the chair and fastening the belt? The vest would hold the person upright, and the belt would keep the vest upright against the back of the chair? If your LO doesn't have a vest, you can probably either buy one at a store or go to a used clothing store.
I think I'll tell the folks at my dad's ALF to do this with one of his polar fleece vests since he leans over a lot sometimes.


Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:57 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
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Great idea, Lynn! :)

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:01 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:42 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Florida
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Thanks for both suggestions. Spoke with my hospice nurse today and she is looking for something too as she said the Posey straps are restraints and a "no-no" for hospice to purchase. Will do a search for the vest you mentioned, Robin, and will try Lynn's suggestion too. Also, the hospice social worker was here today too and she looked at the straps online and suggested making them as they looked like they'd be simple to make. However, since I can't sew AT ALL, I may ask a friend who does to make them for me if I can't find anything else to purchase.


Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:41 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:27 pm
Posts: 1
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My mom had this problem. She would bend over so far, I feared she would fall out of her w/c! And yes, makes it very difficult when trying to get those bites in! We had a very heavy wooden chair that we would place behind her wheelchair and then prop her back. The chair was heavy enough to hold her w/c in place, and seemed to almost "hold" the w/c handles. She rarely moved except to lean forward so we knew she would not cause the w/c to move! I know this sounds like a risk for a fall, but it did work very well for my mom. It reminded me of the lift her hairstylist had to prop her w/c back so her hair could get washed. Maybe we need to patent something?!


Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:14 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
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Location: Vermont
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I thought my vest idea was a good one until I asked the folks at my dad's ALF to do that for him when he is eating (the only time he is upright these days). They said even a vest with something going through the armholes and attaching to his wc would be considered a restraint, and therefore not allowed.
In MD only people in NHs can be "restrained" from falling out of their chairs, w/c and he is in an ALF. Lately, he is so angry that he has to eat in the dementia unit, as soon as a CG turns their head, he pushes himself out of his w/c and ends up on the floor. Sunday he did this at breakfast AND lunch, so I got 2 calls in 3 hours. I don't know what to do - I am hoping they don't ask me to move him to a NH but I think we're getting closer to that every day.


Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:04 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:42 pm
Posts: 59
Location: Florida
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Mom's hospice nurse brought a device with straps that has helped somewhat when feeding mom. It goes around the waist like a belt, then has straps (like suspenders) that you can criss-cross in the back and loop over the back of the wheelchair. It tends to slide upward however when you try to get it tight enough to hold her upright, so I'm not sure if it's going to be of much help. Mom hates it and says she feels too "strapped" in.


Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:24 am
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