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|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|Thursday, September 25, 2003
||Contact: CMS Public Affairs
TO ALLOW MORE WORKERS TO HELP NURSING HOME RESIDENTS
Rules Designed To Permit Feeding Assistants To Increase Quality
Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced new regulations
that will help improve the quality of care for nursing
home residents by allowing for trained assistants to help residents
"By permitting the use of
trained feeding assistants, nursing homes will be
able to provide their residents with better
care, especially during the busiest times of the day - breakfast,
dinner," Secretary Thompson said. "Nursing homes will
now be able to free
their nurses and nurse aides to help them focus on their residents'
health care needs and on those residents with complex feeding
This means that residents will be able to receive better nutrition
The new rule allows nursing homes
to hire trained feeding assistants to help
residents eat and drink. The new assistants will be required
successfully complete a state-approved course of at least eight
the use of these assistants must be consistent with state law.
nursing homes rely primarily on certified nurse aides (CNAs)
or other health
care professionals to assist residents with eating and drinking.
and family members also may assist with these tasks.
The regulations, which will be
published as a final rule in the Sept. 26
issue of the Federal Register, will make it easier for nursing
homes to hire
trained feeding assistants to help residents who have no complicated
"We expect that these feeding
assistants will take some of the pressure off
of the nurses, nurse aides and other staff by allowing them more
provide some of the more complex tasks such as bathing, toileting
changing dressings," said Tom Scully, administrator of HHS'
Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In addition to making it easier
for nursing homes to better serve residents
by permitting more of their staff to help with feeding some residents,
Bush administration has been aggressive in its efforts to improve
quality of care provided
to nursing home residents. Last year, HHS launched a national
initiative to help people who rely on Medicare and Medicaid programs,
their families, find the best nursing homes for their needs.
providing meaningful nursing
home quality information to help consumers compare and choose
providers. The information is available through the "Nursing
Home Compare" feature on Medicare's consumer Website, http://www.medicare.gov.
Note: All HHS
press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are
available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.