This week’s “Ftag of the Week” is F948, Training for Feeding Assistants, which is part of the Training Requirements regulatory group. This Ftag is one of only a handful of training-related Ftags that went into effect in Phase 1, since the bulk of the training requirements for nursing homes are part of Phase 3, effective in about 1 year from now – November 2019. There is an additional Ftag for Feeding Assistants, F811 that provides comprehensive information on the requirements for the use of paid Feeding Assistants. CMSCG will review F811 next week. F948 is only to be cited if surveyors determine that a paid feeding assistant has not completed a required State-approved training program. There does not need to be a negative resident outcome for this tag to be cited. The Interpretive Guidance (IG) states that State-approved training must include at least 8 hours of training on several topics, including:
- Feeding techniques
- Feeding and hydration assistance
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Appropriate responses to resident behavior
- Safety and emergency procedures
- Infection control
- Resident Rights
- Change in condition recognition and reporting
While it’s great to have an “all hands” approach to meal service to enhance the dining experience and resident satisfaction, it’s essential to ensure that staff being utilized to assist with feeding your residents have received the appropriate training and that the facility has a record of this training.
Some examples where F948 has been cited this year include:
- An untrained Receptionist doing hand over hand feeding with a resident
- An untrained Director of Medical Records assisting with feeding provided a resident, who coughed during meal service and had an order for thickened liquids, with thin liquids
- A facility not being aware that there was a state-required training program and the facility was using training materials from another state
We all know our responsibility is to ensure residents receive a meal that meets their nutritional needs, food is at acceptable temperatures, the correct consistency is served, and that necessary assistance is provided to complete consumption of the meal. Just remember that if your facility is or plans to use staff from a variety of departments who do not have feeding assistance training as part of their training curriculum, you need to provide them with the required state training before they assist with feeding. But, beyond that, you should also be monitoring to ensure that staff feeding residents are adhering to all protocols related to safe feeding, infection control and the other areas listed above.