The effect of role-taking ability on caregiver-resident mealtime interaction

Appl Nurs Res. 1999 Feb;12(1):38-44. doi: 10.1016/s0897-1897(99)80167-0.


In this qualitative study of mealtime in a nursing home, data were collected on the verbal and nonverbal interaction between certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and completely eating-dependent residents. Although some caregivers were seen to give care in a creative, empathetic manner, others were task-driven and mechanistic. The difference in caregiving was, in part, accounted for by the degree to which individual caregivers were able to engage in role taking, that is, the ability to see the world from the resident's perspective. Recommendations for enhancing role-taking ability include (a) asking caregivers to reflect on their own mealtime experiences, (b) encouraging staff to eat with residents, (c) having staff practice feeding one another, and (d) providing role modeling and supervision by professional nursing staff at mealtime.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Empathy
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesics*
  • Male
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Nursing Assistants / psychology*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Role Playing*
  • Verbal Behavior*