Nursing Home Dietary Services
Under Oklahoma’s nursing home laws, all long-term care facilities must provide a certain standard of care to residents, which includes meeting their specific nutritional needs. This in turn, requires the oversight of a nutritionist and food service supervisor, who are responsible for developing a dietary plan to meet the individual needs of each resident. All facilities must also be staffed with employees who are designated to direct and supervise their dietary services.
These measures were put in place to help ensure that long-term care facility residents receive the nutrition that they need, so a failure to comply with related regulations can have serious consequences for the health of residents. If you suspect that a loved one is not receiving the care that he or she deserves at a nursing home, please reach out to our experienced malnutrition abuse lawyers to learn more about resident rights in Oklahoma.
Minimum Meal Standards
Oklahoma law requires nursing homes to meet certain standards when it comes to the diets of residents. For instance, all resident meals must be prepared based on sound nutritional practices and physician recommendations. Specifically, facilities must serve a minimum of three regularly scheduled meals every day, with at least four hours between each meal. Diets must also be prescribed by a physician and planned, written, reviewed, and approved by a nutritionist or registered dietician after a nutritional assessment that addresses pertinent information about each resident, including:
- Problems with chewing and swallowing;
- Appetite and eating habits;
- Lab results;
- Weight and height;
- Diet and medication interactions;
- Food preferences; and
- Assistive devices.
Employees must strictly adhere to resident meal plans, unless a resident refuses a menu item, in which case a facility must offer substitutes of similar nutritive value.
Ensuring Nutritional Adequacy
To ensure that residents are receiving the nutrients that they need and that all meals are being offered as required, nursing home staff members must:
- Make sure that meal plans are approved, dated, and periodically reviewed by a nutritionist or dietician;
- Establish and update an identification system to ensure that all residents are receiving their prescribed diet;
- Record the percentages of consumed meals, as well as what types of supplements and meal replacements are being ingested by residents;
- Keep a record of menu items from the past 30 days; and
- Maintain a file of tested recipes that include therapeutic alterations for food preparation.
If these precautions reveal that a resident is not receiving adequate nutrition, the facility must provide timely and appropriate nutrition intervention. If intervention involves the use of tube feeding, those orders must be evaluated for nutritional adequacy, which includes an assessment of a person’s caloric intake, protein and fluid levels, and their percentage of the daily recommended dietary allowances.
Connect with Our Experienced Malnutrition Abuse Lawyers in Tulsa
For help holding a negligent nursing home accountable for its failure to provide a loved one with the proper level of care, including adequate nutrition, please contact our dedicated Tulsa malnutrition abuse attorneys at Levinson Law, P.C. today by calling our office at 918-492-4433.