Mealtime Partners, Inc.

We Specialize in Assistive Dining and Drinking Equipment


User Profile

Who should use the Mealtime Partner Dining Device?

There is no standard set of characteristics that determines whether or not an individual can successfully use a Mealtime Partner. The Partner is appropriate for feeding both disabled children or disabled adults. For example, it can be a feeding aid for those with cerebral palsy, facilitate assistive feeding for individuals with SCI, used as a feeding aid for Parkinson’s patients, or be a feeding aid for ALS patients. The only absolute requirement is that the user has the ability to move their head forward enough to remove food from the spoon. While the considerations outlined below are not meant to preclude a potential user from operation of the Partner, they are provided to serve as general guidelines.

The following areas should be evaluated relative to there applicability to Mealtime Partner use: seating/positioning; vision/hearing; oral motor skills; cognition; and gross and fine motor control.

Seating/Positioning.  A user should be positioned to best utilize his/her body to control one or two adaptive switches and have appropriate body posture to facilitate food removal from the spoon, and oral motor movement for eating. Also, the user should be positioned so that they can comfortably watch the device operate and see the various foods being served. 

Oral Motor Skills.  A formal feeding evaluation is recommended for all users of the Partner. However, for individuals with oral motor difficulties, it is essential. Individuals with no oral motor difficulties can use the Partner most easily. People with neuromotor disabilities such as cerebral palsy have more difficulty and might need the assistance of an occupational therapist to learn how to operate the device.

Eating/Swallowing. The user should be able to eat without any special procedures. The ability to eat normal food is a plus but texture modification works equally well. For high or low calorie diets, a formal feeding evaluation is recommended before deciding to use the Partner.

Vision/Hearing. The user should be able to see the food selections and see the spoon as it delivers food to them. Hearing will allow the use of the auditory feedback available from the Partner, but is not essential.

Cognition. Persons with a variety of cognitive abilities are appropriate candidates for using the Partner. However, those with lower cognitive skills may require training to use the device.

Gross and Fine Motor Skills. The users gross and fine motor skills will control the number and placement of adaptive switches used for controlling the Partner. (For those who have little or no motor control, the Partner can be operated in the fully automatic mode, requiring no adaptive switches.)

People who should not use the Mealtime Partner;  Respirator users and people who aspirate during meals (either eating or drinking) should not use the Partner unless under the direct recommendation of a Physician, and, even then, they should never be left unattended while eating using the device. Those with a severe bite reflex would have difficulty eating using the Partner as their bite reflex could cause the device to be repositioned. The Partner must maintain the correct alignment for continued successful eating.  




This page last updated on 10-25-17.