Each nursing home will benefit from conducting a full operational assessment of the home’s dining experience in order to determine the most cost effective and operationally efficient pathway towards improvement. Each home can identify and create an action plan to modify dining practices in small ways and in areas that eventually may even involve capital equipment and purchasing. The key is to begin the assessment process as some of the core compliance components do not have negotiable time frames, while CMS does recognize that changes which may constitute financial hardship may take more time.
Start by setting clear expectations with key stakeholders including owners, board members, corporate staff, nursing home residents and staff and families that the culture change journey is a process that takes commitment and time. For homes seeking to move from “good to great”, the longer journey may take several years depending upon the degree of investment needed (e.g., capital purchases in physical plant re-design) or in labor reorganization (a more integrated, less hierarchical structure, with high levels of cross-trained staff). Each home will need to define a balance between innovation and resident freedom and resident safety and nursing home liability. As with all regulations, there is a balance that the home always must identify, and for each home and resident this will be unique. For a person-centered care planning tool to support long term care communities in their efforts to honor residents’ choices that influence quality of care and quality of life, while mitigating potential risks associated with those choices, visit to our Resource Library Care Planning section.