New Dining Standards of Practice Resources Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued memo (S&C: 13-13-NH) to State Survey Agency Directors containing information related to resources available to support the new dining practice standards. The standards address issues including expanding dining, therapeutic diets, food consistency, thickened liquids and tube feedings.  The memo states that, “Research presented revealed little benefit to many older individuals with chronic conditions from restrictions in dietary sugar and sodium, as well as little benefit from tube feedings, pureed diets, and thickened liquids.  The new standards recommend to clinicians and prescribers that a regular diet become the default with only a small number of individuals needing restrictions.”  The memo provides links to the complete practice standards document and to a surveyor training video that introduces the 10 categories of changes.

While CMS notes that the new practice standards do not represent CMS requirements, they encourage surveyors to be aware of these changes since Quality of Care compliance is to be reviewed based on standards of practice.  The Memo also states that, “Surveyors should not issue deficiency citations simply because a facility is not following these particular recommended practices.  However, facilities that opt to adhere to these practice standards may rely on such adherence in response to questions regarding any changes from more restrictive diet protocols previously used.”

Additionally, CMS has provided a new 24-minute video training product to all survey agencies with information on new dining standards of practice and therapeutic diets. This video, which is an introduction to the New Dining Practice Standards, was developed by several national professional organizations.