Texas Department of Human Services

Eric M. Bost

May 15, 2000

David Herndon
Chair, Austin
Elizabeth D. Seale
Vice Chair, San Antonio
John A. Cuellar
Bill Jones
Terry Durkin Wilkinson
Carole Woodard
To: Nursing Facilities (NFs), Assisted Living (AL), Adult Day Care (ADC), and Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Mental Retardation and Related Conditions (ICFMR/RC)
Re:   Provider Letter 00-17 -- Guidance for Facilities In The Use Of Volunteers and Other Individuals In Assisting Residents With Eating

The purpose of this letter is to provide guidance to providers when volunteers, family members, or other individuals assist residents with eating.

If a facility elects to use volunteers, family members, and other individuals to assist residents with eating, the facility should provide training to those individuals on problems associated with chewing, swallowing, and aspiration. Individuals providing assistance should also receive hands-on training regarding such topics as various feeding techniques, the proper use of adaptive equipment, and in providing/coordinating emergency services should a resident experience a problem while eating. All feeding assistance programs should be closely monitored and supervised by appropriate facility staff, including nursing and dietary services.

If a resident has a critical care need related to their ability to consume and process food, that resident should receive assistance from appropriately trained and experienced staff and/or individuals. The facility needs to address these concerns when conducting the resident assessment and the required services should be included in the resident's care plan.

The department supports a philosophy that includes community involvement, and encourages providers to develop effective and well managed volunteer programs. The use of properly trained and supervised volunteers, family members, and other individuals can enhance the quality of life and the quality of care for facility residents.

If  you  have   questions  or  need    additional  information,   please  contact  Bevo Morris, Professional Services, at (512) 438-2363.

- Original Signature on File -

Jim Lehrman
Deputy Commissioner of LTCR-HCSSA