Specialist Language Courses

Lesson Plan: Feeding Patients

Lesson Plan - Feeding Patients

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This lesson teaches the language used when assisting patients at mealtimes. It includes speaking, vocabulary, listening and reading activities.

A2-B1 level

Teacher Notes

●    Topic: feeding patients

●    Timing: 30-60 minutes

●    Lesson Type/Focus: speaking, vocabulary, listening and reading



●       Speaking: discuss feeding patient, practise a mealtime conversation

●       Reading: read for specific information

●       Vocabulary: learn and review language for discussing a patient’s food and fluid intake

●       Writing: listen for gist and detail


The focus of this lesson is assisting patients at mealtimes. The vocabulary activity introduces/reviews items which a carer may use to help a patient who has difficulty feeding themselves. The reading activity contextualises some of this language and practises reading for specific information. The listening activity practises listening for gist and specific information and provides a model for the final speaking activity.

Note: This lesson supports the language introduced in the following:

●       Course: English for Care: delivering outstanding care

●       Unit: Eating and Drinking

●       Module: ‘Activities of Daily Living: helping with mealtimes’ pages 9 to 12

Teaching Guide & Answer Key

Part 1: speaking

Put students into pairs or small groups and ask them to discuss questions 1 and 2 on the student worksheet. Encourage them to share examples from their own experience.

Do whole class feedback to discuss and share answers.

Suggested answers

1.Why do you think that the carer is feeding the patient?

  • She may have dementia and forget to eat.
  • The carer may need to encourage the patient to eat because the patient doesn’t eat enough.
  • The patient may not be able to hold a spoon.
  • The patient may have difficulty swallowing and need to be monitored.

2. When carers feed patients, what are some of the things they should do?

  • sit patient up straight so they can swallow food safely
  • make sure they have the opportunity to go to the toilet and/or wash their hands before eating
  • feed small amounts of food so they don’t choke
  • cut up large pieces of food so they don’t choke
  • make sure food is not too hot
  • check that the food is what the patient ordered

Suggested answers

Additional information

  • nutritional supplement: liquids or powders which provide additional nutrients to a diet
  • adapted cutlery: also called modified or adaptive cutlery; cutlery which has been modified to make it easier to use, e.g. rubber grips on the handles, angled head (spoon, knife or fork)
  • red tray: colour-code system which indicates that a patient needs help with their meal. 
  • feeder cup: also called non-spill or non-tip cup. The feeder cup usually has two handles which are open at the bottom so it is easier to slide the hand up to hold the cup.
  • tube feed: medical term -enteral feed; a tube feed is usually delivered through a nasogastric tube (nose to stomach) or a PEG tube (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube – into the abdomen). A tube feed may be delivered in a syringe or through a bag similar to an IV fluids bag) which is run through a pump.
  • napkin: also called a serviette; small piece of cloth usually placed on the lap to protect clothes when eating. Compare with a bib: cloth or plastic cover which is tied around the neck to protect clothes when eating. A bib is usually used for young children or elderly people who spill a lot of food when eating.

Download the complete lesson plan and student worksheet:


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