Clinical concerns

Restrictive diets provide little benefit for residents in long-term care

Research has shown that restrictive diets add little benefit for older adults in long-term care, and they might even be harmful. Concerning issues are weight loss and meal rejection. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have sent letters to state survey agencies notifying them of its support for new dining practice standards.

Nursing homes should encourage seniors to be informed on how to choose food and select the best foods to fit their needs. They should monitor diets, however, and suggest care planning alternatives that benefit residents yet respect their right to make choices.

The new dining standards toolkit was funded by the Rothschild Foundation and designed by Pioneer Network to assist long-term care organizations to provide a liberalized, regular diet for their residents while honoring their individual choices. The toolkit offers information on how to implement the updated dining standards into facilities’ dietary programs.