Food And Dining Rules
Food and dining rules are recently updated by CMS. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have added new requirements for the oversight, nutrition, preparation and food choices offered to residents/patients residing in long term healthcare facilities.
Under these new requirements nutrition, food and dining take on a new level of importance for the long term care providers and their residents/patients. No longer is it the facilities sole responsibility to determine food choice, now with the focus on patient centered care residents have a say.
The new requirements were published and became effective on November 28, 2016. There are three phases to the implementation, but much of the food related requirements are found in phase one.
The new regulations require facilities to be more attentive to resident/patient preferences. They are now required to try and provide residents with requested foods. This is consistent with the push for patient centered care. It should be pointed out that even before the regulations went into effect the long term care industry already had recognized that food service had to be improved to meet better nutritional standards, improved selection, better presentation and more diversified taste. Many facilities had already instituted bakeries, bistros, short order food service and full restaurant dining.
Patient centered care is the center piece of the new regulations, facilities must provide each resident with a well balanced diet that meets the residents nutritional and special dietary needs. The facility must now take into account each residents individual preferences and taste.
To accomplish these goals the staff must have the appropriate competencies and skill sets to meet the residents nutritional and food requirements. A qualified dietician or other clinically qualified nutrition professional must be employed by the facility on a full time, part time or consultant basis. The regulations require that if a full time dietician is not employed then someone must be designated to serve full time as the food and nutrition service director.
Now that the final regulations have been published providers must assess their organizations management and oversight of food and nutritional services. It is crucial for the facilities management to understand and implement the specifics of the new requirements, thus incorporating “patient centered care” and “best practices” into their dietary program.
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