Case study - how equipment helped Graham


As a Dad who enjoys meals out, Graham wanted to feed himself without embarrassment.

Graham's challenge:
Graham is 45 years old and has Multiple Sclerosis. Graham uses a wheelchair to get around both inside and outside his flat. He has recently become more dependent on his wife at mealtimes due to an increase in uncontrolled movements in his arms, particularly on his left side. Graham finds that he cannot keep food on his plate and it often spills on the table and onto the floor. He also finds he spills food and drink on his clothes at most mealtimes. To overcome this his wife and personal assistants have been feeding him to reduce the amount of cleaning up after meals. Graham feels like he has lost his independence and feels embarrassed at mealtimes, and therefore avoids eating out or in the company of family and friends.

Possible solutions

Graham was visited at home by an occupational therapist from his local authority. The occupational therapist recommended the following equipment:

  1. A plateguard, to help prevent Graham pushing food off the edge of his plate. This also enabled Graham to use one hand for eating, as he could use the plateguard to help put food onto his fork.
  2. A slip resistant mat to help stop Graham's plate and cup from moving during meals.
  3. A bib with a trough, to protect Graham's clothing during meals, and to help prevent spilled food from falling to the floor.
  4. A spill-resistant cup with a lid and straw to help prevent spillage of drinks.
The occupational therapist also gave some advice to Graham's wife and personal assistants, advising that they prepare meals that didn't require any cutting, or to cut food up if needed prior to giving to Graham to eat.

The outcome

With some practice Graham was able to use his new equipment effectively and was able to eat his meals independently. However he felt quite self-conscious when using this equipment went eating out with friends. He plans to look into other options that he found on this site, including getting a company round to assess him for a Neater Eater manual eating system which looks portable enough to take with him when he goes out by himself.

To view the equipment solutions above, please click on the product images below: