Assisted feeding, also called hand feeding or oral feeding is the action of a person feeding another person could not otherwise feed themselves. The term is used in the context of some medical issue or in response to a disability, such as when a person living with dementia is no longer able to manage eating alone.
Assisted feeding happens when a caretaker puts food into the mouth of the person who has difficulty eating. This is useful in circumstances when the person needing assistance can swallow the food, but only fails to bring the food to their mouth.
Assisted feeding as an alternative to tube feeding
A feeding tube is a medical device used to provide nutrition to patients who cannot obtain nutrition by mouth, are unable to swallow safely, or need nutritional supplementation.  Patients who are able to use assisted feeding should have that in preference to tube feeding whenever possible.
In the United States a study reviewed a set of patients and found that the expenses to arrange assisted feeding for patients was higher than the cost of using a feeding tube.
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- AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (February 2014), "Ten Things Physicians and Patients Should Question", Choosing Wisely: an initiative of the ABIM Foundation (AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine), retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Mitchell, S. L.; Buchanan, J. L.; Littlehale, S.; Hamel, M. B. (2004). "Tube-Feeding Versus Hand-Feeding Nursing Home Residents with Advanced Dementia: A Cost Comparison". Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 5 (2): S23. doi:10.1016/S1525-8610(04)70086-9.