A long term care facility (nursing home or intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID) may not employ or use any individual as a feeding assistant unless the individual has:
- Reached 16 years of age.
- Successfully passed a caregiver background check, having no offenses on the Offenses Affecting Caregiver Eligibility List, DHS 12, Appendix A (PDF) that bar employment as a caregiver.
- Successfully completed a feeding assistant training and competency evaluation program.
Facilities must ensure feeding assistants only serve residents who have no complicated feeding problems.
Residents with a clinical condition, such as the conditions listed above, require the employee providing feeding or hydration services to be a licensed health care professional who has received appropriate training relating to feeding in conjunction with the education for the professional licensure or nurse aide.
The facility must base their resident selection on the charge nurse's assessment and the resident's latest assessment and plan of care.
Feeding assistants between 16 and 18 years of age require closer supervision; therefore, they must work under the DIRECT supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN), i.e., the RN or LPN must be on the same floor or unit as the feeding assistant, but not necessarily side-by-side.
Feeding assistants 18 years of age or older must work under the general supervision of an RN, or LPN.
In an emergency, a feeding assistant must immediately call a supervisory nurse on the resident call system.
While the Department anticipates most feeding assistants will serve residents in the dining room, feeding assistants are allowed to serve residents in their own rooms.
The feeding assistant is not permitted to perform other nursing or nursing-related duties (e.g., measuring or recording input or output, transferring, toileting, etc.).
Feeding assistants must receive an annual in service on relevant feeding assistant topics (any topic area included in the curriculum is appropriate).
In addition, feeding assistants must be evaluated on a yearly basis to document that their skill performance and feeding competence is satisfactory.