Feeding Assistant Program: The Role of a Feeding Assistant

The role of a feeding assistant is to help residents in a nursing facility eat and drink. This role does not include assisting residents who have complicated problems with eating and drinking, such as trouble swallowing. Feeding assistants don't perform duties provided by nurse aides—or any other nursing service. They work under the direction of nurses.

Feeding assistants must take an approved training program to receive state certification. They also must meet certain requirements. That includes being at least 16 years old.

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

What is a feeding assistant?

In addition to being at least 16 years old and meeting federal requirements, feeding assistants must be one of the following:

  • Paid by a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home.
  • Have an arrangement with another agency or organization to help residents with no complicated feeding problems eat and drink.

Complicated feeding problems include:

  • Being fed by IV or tube.
  • Frequent lung infections.
  • Trouble swallowing.

What a feeding assistant is not

A feeding assistant is not someone who is a:

  • Nurse aide.
  • Licensed health professional who received feeding training.
  • Volunteer.

Learn more about how we regulate our care programs

More information about feeding assistants

Read the Wisconsin Feeding Assistant Training Program Manual, P-00097 (PDF)

Resources for nursing facilities that host a feeding assistant training program

Relevant forms

Contact us

If you'd like more information on the training program, how it's regulated, or how to apply, contact Vickie Bergquist, dietitian consultant, at 414-313-9557 or email her at vickie.bergquist@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

Last Revised: May 9, 2022