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Paid Dining Assistant Certification Module

The New Jersey Department of Health approved a paid dining assistant curriculum for use by nursing homes in 2018. A clinical team made up of members from NJHA, HCANJ and LeadingAge NJ designed the curriculum for the implementation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Federal Tag F-811 and 42 CFR 432.160 related to the use of paid dining assistants in nursing homes. The federal regulations give each state the flexibility to allow nursing homes to use dining assistants to supplement the services of nursing staff if their use is consistent with state law, and if the dining assistants successfully complete a state-approved training program.

This program is intended to train the primary instructors of paid dining assistants in nursing homes. The primary instructor must be a registered nurse with previous long-term care experience and a current New Jersey license. Ideally, the curriculum would be taught with other team members such as a registered dietitian, licensed physical, speech, and/or occupational therapist, and/or a licensed social worker.

The goal of the program is to provide individualized, safe eating and drinking assistance for residents who are not complex or at risk.

Objectives of this training module:
•Ensure that students learn the regulatory requirements associated with dining in nursing homes
•Ensure that students understand the broader background in regulation related to resident rights, choice, privacy, quality of life, abuse/neglect.
•Demonstrate effective communication skills
•How to provide assistance for residents who have different levels of independence with eating.
•Identify the purpose, benefits and steps of the dining assistant program.
•Identify OSHA safety requirements including right to know and safety data sheets.
•Understand the chain of infection.
•Learn the causes of foodborne illness and safe food handling techniques.
•Understand environmental hazards and risks.
•Learn facility emergency procedures.

Target audience: 
Nurses, dietitians, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and others who will be involved in teaching the curriculum.