Denying an elderly patient of their nutritional needs is one form of physical abuse in a nursing home. Ensuring proper nourishment of their residents is one of the major responsibilities of the nursing home administrators. Giving proper care of each and every resident is stipulated in the Nursing Home Reform Act. Under the law, a resident must be able to maintain an acceptable parameter of nutritional status such as body weight and protein level.

Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg will tell you that the amount of food that the residents are taking should be actively monitored by the nursing home staff. The law also calls for nursing homes to assess each resident as a means of preventing malnutrition. Known as the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI), nursing homes are required to comply and perform the said assessment based on a federally mandated schedule.

The risk assessment consists of two separate tests namely MDS and RAPs. MDS stands for Minimum Data Set and is designed for measuring problems related to oral health and nutrition as well as hydration levels. When risk factors arise during the MDS, the nursing personnel must now perform the Resident Assessment Protocols. The MDS should also be done every quarter.

In Resident Assessment Protocols, physical, psychological, and social issues, the effects of medicines, anxiety or depression, and communication issues are assessed. RAPs are more intensive when it comes to determining specific causes of any nutritional or hydration deficiencies.

After the assessment, the nursing staff can now create an effective care plan for preventing malnutrition. The program must allow the nursing home staff to customize their plan according to the health and wellness needs of each resident. In addition, there should be a pre-set schedule to help the staff receive assessment. Finally, the plan should also include a quick response scheme so they can immediately avert malnutrition or prevent it altogether.


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