Effective November 28, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final rule to improve care, safety, and consumer protection for long-term care facility residents. This includes ensuring that staff members have the right skill sets and competencies to provide person-directed care to residents. This final rule also states that care plans developed for residents will take into consideration his or her goals of care and preferences. In other words, it’s no longer a choice to change to a more person directed approach, it’s the law.
First, a great way to get everyone up to speed on this final rule from the CMS is to give them a copy of the Declaration of Dining Independence.
This handout explains what each resident can expect from the process of making an ‘informed’ decision about the meals and snacks he or she prefers. The understanding that there is a mandated right to make meal and snack decisions is confirmed when the resident signs the Declaration of Dining Independence document.
Secondly, to support this document, and have a little fun in the process, we suggest you have a good old-fashioned ice cream social.
The idea is to offer ice cream with a large variety of toppings and then once people make their choices of the toppings, staff and residents can compare the different combinations of items to show how truly unique people’s dining preferences can be.
People enjoy a wide variety of foods and “one diet doesn’t feed all.” There are dishes people love because those particular foods bring back happy memories. There are people who have religious, ethnic and cultural preferences that are part of who they are. Some people have comfort foods that they enjoy, like a good old-fashioned bowl of chicken soup or that special combination of milk and chocolate chip cookie.
The ice cream social is a great way to bring folks together and remind them that they are empowered to all work together to make person-directed dining happen for everyone in the community. After all, it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the law.
To get you started on your path to self-directed dining, we would like to offer you a free copy of our Declaration of Dining Independence handout from the manual The Inside Scoop on Informed Choice: A Step-By-Step Guide for Individualizing Diets.