Nutrition

Good nutrition is required for the resident’s well being. A nursing home must employ a qualified dietitian either on a full time, part time or consultant basis. If the facility does not have a full time dietitian, the facility must have a director of food services who must frequently consult with a dietician.

All residents must be provided with nourishing, palatable, well balanced diet that meets daily nutritional needs. If the resident requires a special diet, the nursing home must prepare the food to meet individual needs.

Residents must receive three meals daily and at regular times. The nursing home should serve a substantial evening meal which includes a high quality protein such as meat, fish, eggs or cheese. The nursing home must offer snacks at bedtime.

The failure to maintain good nutrition, in addition to weight loss, effects skin integrity, organ function, healing, the ability to fight infection etc.. Without adequate nutrition, the resident is at risk for pressure ulcers and other dehabilitating conditions and illnesses.

A nursing home must ensure that a resident maintains acceptable nutritional status unless the resident’s clinical condition is such that acceptable nutritional status is not possible. If there is a nutritional problem, the resident must receive a therapeutic diet. The nursing home must evaluate the resident’s nutrition and implement interventions that are consistent with the resident’s needs.

Some residents need assistance with eating. A common story is that the resident’s food was placed on the food tray too far from the resident’s reach or that the food was placed close to the resident but that the resident was not capable of self feeding. The nursing home must ensure that the resident eats and must monitor the resident’s nutrition. If the resident cannot feed himself, the nursing home must provide an aide to feed the resident.