Nursing Home Nutrition and Food Services Requirements
Nutrition and Food Services Federal Nursing Home Regulations
Pursuant to federal regulation 42 CFR § 483.60, food and nutrition services. The facility must provide each resident with a nourishing, palatable, well-balanced diet that meets his or her daily nutritional and special dietary needs, taking into consideration the preferences of each resident.
(a) Staffing. The facility must employ sufficient staff with the appropriate competencies and skills sets to carry out the functions of the food and nutrition service, taking into consideration resident assessments, individual plans of care and the number, acuity and diagnoses of the facility’s resident population in accordance with the facility assessment required at §483.70(e). This includes:
(1) A qualified dietitian or other clinically qualified nutrition professional either full-time, part-time, or on a consultant basis. A qualified dietitian or other clinically qualified nutrition professional is one who—
(i) Holds a bachelor’s or higher degree granted by a regionally accredited college or university in the United States (or an equivalent foreign degree) with completion of the academic requirements of a program in nutrition or dietetics accredited by an appropriate national accreditation organization recognized for this purpose.
(ii) Has completed at least 900 hours of supervised dietetics practice under the supervision of a registered dietitian or nutrition professional.
(iii) Is licensed or certified as a dietitian or nutrition professional by the State in which the services are performed. In a state that does not provide for licensure or certification, the individual will be deemed to have met this requirement if he or she is recognized as a “registered dietitian” by the Commission on Dietetic Registration or its successor organization, or meets the requirements of paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section.
(iv) For dietitians hired or contracted with prior to November 28, 2016, meets these requirements no later than 5 years after November 28, 2016 or as required by state law.
(2) If a qualified dietitian or other clinically qualified nutrition professional is not employed full-time, the facility must designate a person to serve as the director of food and nutrition services who—
(i) For designations prior to November 28, 2016, meets the following requirements no later than 5 years after November 28, 2016, or no later than 1 year after November 28, 2016 for designations after November 28, 2016, is:
(A) A certified dietary manager; or
(B) A certified food service manager, or
(C) Has similar national certification for food service management and safety from a national certifying body; or
(D) Has an associate’s or higher degree in food service management or in hospitality, if the course study includes food service or restaurant management, from an accredited institution of higher learning; and
(ii) In States that have established standards for food service managers or dietary managers, meets State requirements for food service managers or dietary managers, and
(iii) Receives frequently scheduled consultations from a qualified dietitian or other clinically qualified nutrition professional.
(3) Support staff. The facility must provide sufficient support personnel to safely and effectively carry out the functions of the food and nutrition service.
(b) A member of the Food and Nutrition Services staff must participate on the interdisciplinary team as required in §483.21(b)(2)(ii).
(c) Menus and nutritional adequacy. Menus must—
(1) Meet the nutritional needs of residents in accordance with established national guidelines.;
(2) Be prepared in advance;
(3) Be followed;
(4) Reflect, based on a facility’s reasonable efforts, the religious, cultural, and ethnic needs of the resident population, as well as input received from residents and resident groups;
(5) Be updated periodically;
(6) Be reviewed by the facility’s dietitian or other clinically qualified nutrition professional for nutritional adequacy; an
(7) Nothing in this paragraph should be construed to limit the resident’s right to make personal dietary choices.
(d) Food and drink. Each resident receives and the facility provides—
(1) Food prepared by methods that conserve nutritive value, flavor, and appearance;
(2) Food and drink that is palatable, attractive, and at a safe and appetizing temperature;
(3) Food prepared in a form designed to meet individual needs;
(4) Food that accommodates resident allergies, intolerances, and preferences;
(5) Appealing options of similar nutritive value to residents who choose not to eat food that is initially served or who request a different meal choice; and
(6) Drinks, including water and other liquids consistent with resident needs and preferences and sufficient to maintain resident hydration.
(e) Therapeutic diets. (1) Therapeutic diets must be prescribed by the attending physician.
(2) The attending physician may delegate to a registered or licensed dietitian the task of prescribing a resident’s diet, including a therapeutic diet, to the extent allowed by State law.
(f) Frequency of meals. (1) Each resident must receive and the facility must provide at least three meals daily, at regular times comparable to normal mealtimes in the community or in accordance with resident needs, preferences, requests, and plan of care.
(2) There must be no more than 14 hours between a substantial evening meal and breakfast the following day, except when a nourishing snack is served at bedtime, up to 16 hours may elapse between a substantial evening meal and breakfast the following day if a resident group agrees to this meal span.
(3) Suitable, nourishing alternative meals and snacks must be provided to residents who want to eat at non-traditional times or outside of scheduled meal service times, consistent with the resident plan of care.
(g) Assistive devices. The facility must provide special eating equipment and utensils for residents who need them and appropriate assistance to ensure that the resident can use the assistive devices when consuming meals and snacks.
(h) Paid feeding assistants—(1) State-approved training course. A facility may use a paid feeding assistant, as defined in §488.301 of this chapter, if—
(i) The feeding assistant has successfully completed a State-approved training course that meets the requirements of §483.160 before feeding residents; and
(ii) The use of feeding assistants is consistent with State law.
(2) Supervision. (i) A feeding assistant must work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN).
(ii) In an emergency, a feeding assistant must call a supervisory nurse for help.
(3) Resident selection criteria. (i) A facility must ensure that a feeding assistant provides dining assistance only for residents who have no complicated feeding problems.
(ii) Complicated feeding problems include, but are not limited to, difficulty swallowing, recurrent lung aspirations, and tube or parenteral/IV feedings.
(iii) The facility must base resident selection on the interdisciplinary team’s assessment and the resident’s latest assessment and plan of care. Appropriateness for this program should be reflected in the comprehensive care plan.
(i) Food safety requirements. The facility must—
(1) Procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory by federal, state, or local authorities;
(i) This may include food items obtained directly from local producers, subject to applicable State and local laws or regulations.
(ii) This provision does not prohibit or prevent facilities from using produce grown in facility gardens, subject to compliance with applicable safe growing and food-handling practices.
(iii) This provision does not preclude residents from consuming foods not procured by the facility.
(2) Store, prepare, distribute, and serve food in accordance with professional standards for food service safety.
(3) Have a policy regarding use and storage of foods brought to residents by family and other visitors to ensure safe and sanitary storage, handling, and consumption, and
(4) Dispose of garbage and refuse properly.
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For more information about food services requirements or other questions about elder abuse and neglect contact Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation at 612-743-9048 or by email at KLaBore @ MNnursinghomeneglect.com.