How can my healthcare operation be compliant with F806?

Healthcare foodservice worker presenting a plate of croissants to a senior care resident

Putting a focus on person-centered care, F806 requires healthcare operators to accommodate allergies, intolerances and food preferences.

In fall 2017, revisions to the Interpretive Guidance in the State Operations Manual went into effect, per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Like you, many healthcare operators are trying to understand how F806 (listed below) will impact their day-to-day business, as the changes clarify how long-term care providers can offer better resident- or person-centered care.

F806: 
Each resident receives, and the facility provides, food that accommodates allergies, intolerances and preferences. 

Hopefully, providing person-centered care is not a new consideration for you. That being said,  complying with regulations can be a complex undertaking. To make it easier, here are the different aspects of F806 and what compliance can look like.

Allergies and intolerances

Allergies and intolerances are often thought of as the same, but they are different. Allergies are life threatening. Intolerances can have very serious short- or long-term effects on the body. For this reason, it’s important to clarify with your residents, upon admission, whether they have an allergy or an intolerance. 

If a resident has an allergy and it is one of the “Top 8” that the Food and Drug Administration requires on a food label (eggs, wheat, milk, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts and/or tree nuts), then you can rest assured this information always will be listed on the label. If the allergy is not one of the Top 8, you will need the manufacturer to confirm if the food item contains the allergen in question. Also, be sure to reconfirm allergen information on a regular basis, since products change from time to time.

If the resident notes an intolerance, ask them and/or their family members which foods they avoided before admission to manage it. Two common intolerances include lactose and gluten, but it’s never as simple as having that resident avoid milk and bread. A registered dietitian can help you identify hidden sources of any intolerable ingredient. It’s better to leverage their knowledge versus risking the consequences of guessing.

Individual preferences

Next, ask residents what kind of food like they like, what foods (if any) they don’t like, cultural dishes they enjoy and anything else relevant to their eating choices. Take note of their preferences and incorporate them into the meals your serve. Always consider the diversity mix and common preferences when writing cycle menus.

By combining allergy, intolerance and preference details, you’ll not only be in compliance with F806, you’ll also make a positive shift toward person-centered care—a move that can pay off in the form of improved resident satisfaction.

Organize and Optimize

Cycle Menu Management (CMM), an online tool available to Gordon Food Service customers, can help you manage and track resident allergies, intolerances and preferences. Two modules within CMM are particularly useful:

  • Tray Card module: Enter all of your resident data and print tray cards, snack labels and various resident reports (Dislikes List, Allergy List, etc.)
  • Tray Ticket module: Automatically generates menus specific to each resident with allergens and disliked items removed by entering such information as “traits” to ingredients and recipes

Both can save your staff time while ensuring you’re meeting your residents’ needs and preferences. To get started with CMM or for more details on it and the available modules, talk to your Gordon Food Service Sales Representative.