I always stay in the dining room with the resident's at meal times and was told I didn't have to. Is it okay for a nurse not to be present in the dining room, while the resident's are eating in a Assisted Living setting?
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Check the regulations concerning the need for a nurse in the dining room. You should be able to find them on the website for the regulatory/licensing agency for your state. I would also check to see if your executive director/administrator has a binder with all the regs on hand. When in doubt go to the source and look it up. Never rely on word of mouth because sometimes the folks telling you do this or don't do that honestly haven't a clue if the regulations require it or don't require it. And, since this is an international board, the regs vary state to state and country to country so check what applies in your state for your type of facility.
I'm not very familiar with regulations governing ALFs, but in the homes I have worked in a RN or LPN is *required* to be present in the dining room for all meals in the LTC/SNF in case of choke, falls, illness, etc...Now that I think about it, I know a couple of LPNs who work in ALFs and they have told me they are required to be present in the dining room during meals. As txredheadnurse stated, it would depend on your state's regulatory/licensing agency.
I am not sure about assisted living, unless it is one of those Assisted living plus kind of places. I am a CNA in a nursing home/skilled nursing facility (also about to graduate from nursing school) and there someone should stay in the dining room until everyone is through because of choking/swallowing issues. Many geriatric clients have difficulty swallowing and if someone were to choke and no one was there to interceded ...
However, I always tend to think of assisted living is independent but I want someone around in case I need them. Where I work you are not eligible to live in assisted living if you can do for yourself. If you want a CNA to come help you with your shower you get charged for that. If you want food delivered to your room, you get charged for that. You also have to remember to come get your medication, they do not take them to you. So it seems like the dining room would be more like a restaurant or cafeteria and you would not be expected to be present.
I know where I worked they broke the law all the time... I know that they atleast wanted to have an aide in the dinning room at all times if they were eating they perfered that you sit with the ones that are at high risk of choking. but we always knew where to find a nurse and how to use the intercom. To be quite honest with you if you feel like you need to sit in the dinning room then do it just to be safe whether its the law or not a law. it just shows that you care incase somthing did happen.