14 Jan F-Tag #803 Blog
F-TAG OF THE MONTH
Food and Nutrition Services F-803: Menus and Nutritional Adequacy
In this next summary of F-Tags, we are reviewing F-803. This F-Tag focuses on menus and nutritional adequacy. It states that menus at your senior living community must:
- Meet the nutritional needs of residents in accordance with established national guidelines
- Be prepared in advance
- Be followed
- Reflect, based on your reasonable efforts, the religious, cultural and ethnic needs of the resident population, as well as input received from residents and resident groups
- Be updated periodically
- Be reviewed by the facility’s dietitian or other clinically qualified nutrition professional for nutritional adequacy
- Not limit the resident’s right to make personal dietary choices.
What is the Purpose of the F-803 Tag?
This tag intends to ensure that your community’s menus are developed and prepared to satisfy resident choices (like their nutritional, religious, cultural and ethnic needs) while following established national guidelines.
This means your community’s dining program needs to provide choices that are resident-specific. Menus must be sensitive to the wants, desires, and backgrounds of the people you serve. They also need to be nutritious and follow the guidelines of each resident’s prescribed diet.
What are surveyors looking for?
They want to see that you are making reasonable and good faith efforts to develop a menu based on residents’ requests and feedback. Paying attention to what is appetizing and culturally appropriate is key. Also listening to what the residents are expressing in terms of preferences and offering choices is important, as well as required. Specifically, the community must make reasonable efforts to review and adjust the menu to meet the nutritional, religious, cultural, ethnic needs and preferences of the residents.
Food committee meetings, meal rounds, comment cards and more frequent visits with the residents and family members (when pandemic guidelines permit) will help you monitor any changing preferences and subsequently react to them by adjusting your menus. It does not mean that you have to cater to each resident’s specific and often unusual preferences, but overall, you have to provide alternative choices that meet their nutritional needs.
Surveyors will also look at whether or not the residents are receiving food in the amount, type, consistency and frequency to maintain normal body weight and acceptable nutritional status. Also, if a resident is vegetarian or lactose intolerant, what does the community do to ensure that menu offerings and individual food preferences are compatible with the resident’s nutritional needs?
Menus are required to be posted, and changes to the menu must be communicated to the residents. Any changes must also be documented and approved by the community’s registered dietitian.
To learn more, please contact Randi Saeter at [email protected].