"This activity considers a person’s ability to be nourished, either by cutting food into pieces, conveying it to the mouth and chewing and swallowing; or through the use of therapeutic sources.

The type of food and drink for nourishment is not a consideration for this activity, but rather the claimant’s ability to nourish themselves.

The frequency of taking nutrition should only be considered if the claimant has a mental health condition, supported by further medical evidence.


A therapeutic source means parenteral or enteral tube feeding using a rate limiting device, such as a delivery system or feed pump.

Spilling food can be considered, regular spillage requiring a change of clothes after meals is not an acceptable standard of taking nutrition.

When considering whether a claimant requires an aid or appliance, [Healthcare Professionals] should distinguish between:
Descriptor advice in favour of an aid or appliance should only be given in the former case. An aid or appliance is not required in the latter.

Where a claimant chooses not to use an aid or appliance that he or she could reasonably be expected to use and would enable them to carry out the activity without assistance, they should be assessed as needing an aid or appliance rather than a higher level of support.

"‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person: May apply to claimants who need to be reminded to eat (for example, due to a cognitive impairment or severe depression), or who need prompting about portion size. Prompting regarding portion size should be directly linked to a diagnosed condition such as Prader Willi Syndrome or Anorexia. In cases where obesity is a factor through the claimant’s lifestyle choices then this descriptor would not apply"

Last updated October 2015