After the surveyors walk through the facility door, according to the Dining Observation checklist, they will observe the first full meal to be given after their entrance, in all dining areas. (If there are fewer surveyors than dining areas, they will observe those dining areas with the most dependent residents.) There are many, many things that surveyors will be looking for; these fall into four general categories:
1. Resident dignity—Is resident choice being honored?
2. Comfortableness of dining area—Is the dining area a comfortable temperature with appropriate lighting? Are residents positioned appropriately to eat effectively?
3. Food quality—Is food palatable?
4. Safe handling—Are serving conditions sanitary and safe?
As a leader in your facility, you have the power to underscore the importance of the staff’s role in affirming the dignity of all residents at all times, including at mealtime. The best way to prepare your staff for the items on the Dining Observation checklist is to cultivate awareness of what surveyors will be looking for, and the best way to do that is to lead by example and to train staff on proper dining room protocols. Here’s a review of what to look for before the surveyors do.