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Feeding Assistant Program

A feeding assistant helps residents in a nursing facility with eating and drinking and aid in reducing the incidence of unplanned weight loss and dehydration. This role does not include assisting residents who have complicated problems, such as trouble swallowing, feeding tubes, and/or frequent lung infections. Feeding assistants are unable to perform the duties of a nurse aide or any other nursing service duties. The feeding assistant is to work under the supervision of a nurse.

Nursing facilities pay the feeding assistants who work for them. But they can't count them toward their minimum staff requirements.

Rules and regulations

Feeding assistant programs must read, understand, and abide by regulatory requirements at:

Learn more about how we regulate our care programs

What is a feeding assistant?

A feeding assistant is someone who:

  • Successfully passes a caregiver background check.
  • Successfully completes a feeding assistant training and competency evaluation program and have been determined competent.
  • Serves residents with no complicated feeding problems with eating and hydration.
  • Is at least 16 years of age.
  • Is paid by a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home.
  • Has an arrangement with another agency or organization to help residents with no complicated feeding problems eat and drink.

What a feeding assistant is not

A feeding assistant is not someone who is a:

  • Nurse aide.
  • Licensed health professional.
  • Volunteer.
  • Registered dietician.

For providers

The Wisconsin Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) must approve each feeding assistant training program before you can offer instruction.

Program training requirements include:

  • A minimum of 8 hours of instruction on the following:
    • Feeding techniques
    • Assistance with feeding and hydration
    • Communication and interpersonal skills
    • Appropriate responses to resident behavior
    • Safety and emergency procedures, including the Heimlich maneuver
    • Infection control
    • Resident rights
    • Recognizing changes in residents that are inconsistent with the norm and the importance of reporting changes to the nurse
  • In addition to the above 8 hours, instruction on the Wisconsin caregiver program and the client population being served

To meet the above training requirements, the program may develop their own 8-hour curriculum for approval or utilize one of two pre-approved training programs. Please email for pre-approved programs.

After your program is approved, DQA will provide the following:

  • Wisconsin caregiver program video and guide
  • Feeding assistant competency evaluation skills examination – Handwashing
  • Feeding assistant training program competency evaluation skills examination – Resident assistance
  • Feeding assistant training program competency evaluation written examination
  • Feeding assistant training program competency evaluation written examination answer key
  • Long term care facility feeding assistant roster
  • Certificate of completion

Program instructor

The training program shall determine the appropriate qualifications for their instructors based on the needs of the selected client and the nursing home.

  • The instructor may supplement the course by including other individuals for lecture or demonstration whose qualifications or experience add benefit to the training program.
  • Another paid feeding assistant is not permitted to lead the training program.

New program requirements

DQA will notify you whether your program was approved or denied within 45 calendar days.


The program designee shall submit the Notice of Substantial Change Feeding Assistant Training Program, F-62594 form to the department in writing for any changes to the curriculum, instructor, or program designee. Please note that a program may not implement the proposed change in the program without the departments written approval.

The program designee shall submit an annual report to the department on a form provided by the department each year.


Contact us

If you'd like more information on the training program, how it's regulated, or how to apply, please email


Last revised June 5, 2024