Dec 12, 2017
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Is Your Dietary Department Compliant?

With the regulations, that is. Nursing facilities are required to follow state and federal regulations and are subject to inspection by the state in order to be licensed and to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. In order to provide the best care possible and to avoid costly fines, compliance with the regulations is a top priority. Here are some tips on helping to ensure your facility is on track as far as dietary compliance.

Regular in-servicing of staff is key to being compliant. Make sure staff is knowledgeable about F325 and F371, which are the “food service and nutrition tags”.

Be sure the menus are being followed. Spreadsheets need to be in an area where staff can easily refer to them. Are portions correct and are all therapeutic items prepared? Make sure recipes are being followed correctly. Cooks need to be comfortable with preparing and serving pureed food and make sure there is proper seasoning.

If there are many “empty spaces” on log sheets, it might be a red flag for surveyors. Completely filling out temperature log sheets for food, refrigerators, freezers, dishmachine is crucial. Following cleaning schedules is imperative and recording the sanitizer concentration is also necessary. Of course the most critical step is actually doing the task, taking the temperature, using the test strip, or completing the cleaning assigned on the schedule.

Coolers, freezers and storage areas should be clean and organized with no items stored on the floor. Correct dating and labeling is also necessary. Utilize your consulting dietitian’s expertise on kitchen sanitation and food safety to guide you in this area.

Make sure you have updated policies and procedures available and are being followed. When issues arise, good questions to ask are; “What is the policy and procedure for that?” and “Is the policy and procedure being followed?”

Make sure accurate weights are being completed and weight changes are calculated in a timely and concise manner.

A good referral system for the consulting dietitian is necessary. Be sure the dietitian has a system to know who in the building and is a new admit or readmit, has a pressure sore, has significant weight change, is on dialysis, tube feeding or TPN. The dietitian must be aware who has an annual that is due or if there is significant change on a resident plus any others who might be of concern nutritionally. Proper dietitian documentation is critical when preparing for the survey. Are the dietitian credentials/license on file and staff sanitation licenses up to date?

Finally, know the regulations and encourage staff to be “survey ready” every day.


  1. dansully says:

    Thank you, this was really helpful.

  2. ncsadmin says:

    Thanks Dan.

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