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Delicious Snacks for All!

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 9 January 2020
Delicious Snacks for All!

A goal in residential aged care is for residents to enjoy a range of meals throughout the day which includes delicious main meals, mid-meals and drinks.  As our appetite reduces, so the need to provide nutritious snacks becomes even more important.  The mid meal should be appealing and provide the nutrients that are likely to have been missed by having a smaller serve at the main meal. 

Options include:

  • a range of home baked cakes,
  • sweet or savoury baked items like scones and pikelets,
  • savoury plates with cheese and crackers and
  • items based on fruit and dairy foods, such as yoghurt, ice-cream or custard

When a resident commences a modified texture diet (soft, minced and moist or pureed) it is very common to find that mid meals are no longer offered! This can result in weight loss and malnutrition. Sometimes the only options offered are monotonous- the same fruit and custard or yoghurt every day with no variety.  This soon becomes very unappealing and the resident's appetite can fall even further.

We know malnutrition is high amongst those needing modified diets, so the mid meals are even more important to their overall quality of life.   It is important to continually look at interesting ways to present the main meals with molds, piping, layering, but it is also important to give the humble mid-meals the consideration that our residents deserve.

About the Author Nutrition Professionals Australia is a team of Accredited Practising Dietitians who consult to aged care homes across Australia.  They have more than 40 years of combined experience in a range of roles, as Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitians, Food Services Coordinator, Residential Site Manager, Author of Nutrition Manuals and Consultant Dietitian.roles, as Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitians, Food Services Coordinator, Residential Site Manager, Author of Nutrition Manuals and Consultant Dietitian.

Posted in: Nutrition Professionals Australia Protein Meal presentation IDDSI Aged Care Puree Diets Malnutrition Menus Weight Nutrition  

Allergies, Intolerance and Dislikes

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 12 December 2019
Allergies, Intolerance and Dislikes

If a resident has an allergy, intolerance or dislike, these details MUST be documented very clearly and not be ambiguous in any way.  

It is essential any food allergy is taken very seriously.  It must be very clearly documented and able to be identified by all staff (lifestyle, volunteers, care and food service) in an aged care home.  A food allergy reaction can occur within seconds from minute quantities and is often life threatening   The typical food allergies are egg, nuts, fish and shellfish. We know the number of people with food allergies is on the increase.  We need to be vigilant about cross contamination and ensure that residents with food allergies receive the correct meal and are safe at all times.

If a resident has an intolerance, it is usually not life threatening but can leave the resident feeling uncomfortable from a range of symptoms. The resident may even be able to tolerate small quantities before they have any symptoms.

If a resident dislikes a certain food, these food preferences also need to be adhered to at all times.  It is their choice and right to request an alternate meal.

When preparing  a suitable meal, the meal component should not be just taken off and not replaced.  For example, if a resident is lactose intolerant, a lactose free custard should replace the regular custard.  If a resident has an egg allergy, then baked beans should be offered instead of eggs for breakfast.  And if a resident dilsikes beef, then fish or chicken can be offered.

All those who provide foods to residents must be sure that allergies, intolerances and dislikes are well documented and communicated at every stage of the food service.

About the Author Nutrition Professionals Australia is a team of Accredited Practising Dietitians who consult to aged care homes across Australia.  They have more than 40 years of combined experience in a range of roles, as Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitians, Food Services Coordinator, Residential Site Manager, Author of Nutrition Manuals and Consultant Dietitian.roles, as Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitians, Food Services Coordinator, Residential Site Manager, Author of Nutrition Manuals and Consultant Dietitian.

 

Posted in: Allergy Coeliac Disease Food Intolerance Gluten Dietitian Aged Care Diabetes Special diets Food Service Nutrition  

Dignity and Choice

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 28 November 2019
Dignity and Choice

When we talk about food in aged care homes, what is the definition of choice? Does it mean that there are at least 2 choices of meals at all main meals? What happens when someone requires a pureed diet, what happens to their choices then?

Our experience shows that many homes only offer 1 hot choice at the evening meal, although salads and sandwiches are the usual alternatives, and perhaps 2 at the main meal in the middle of the day. If a resident has a swallowing difficulty, often their food preferences are ignored and they will receive the same meal as every one else. It is very challenging to provide a choice of different pureed meals, although if we allow the resident choice, this is required.

Choices at breakfast can include a range of cereals, toast and spreads. If a cooked breakfast is offered, there also needs to be choice - is it eggs or baked beans, mushrooms or tomatoes. We need to ensure the resident has real choice at all meals, to keep them well nourished  and maintain their quality of life.

A cleverly designed menu with appropriate skilled staff can provide residents ample choices throughout the day.

About the Author: Nutrition Professionals Australia is a team of Accredited Practising Dietitians who consult to aged care homes across Australia. They have more than 40 years of combined experience in a range of roles, as Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitians, Food Services Coordinator, Residential Site Manager, Author of Nutrition Manuals and Consultant Dietitian. 

Posted in: Dietitian Aged Care Malnutrition Food Service Nutrition  

Food First!

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 14 November 2019
Food First!

We often hear, 'Food is only nutrition if its eaten!'.  Never a truer word has been spoken. Nutritious quality food is essential to maintain the quality of life for older people who are either living in the community or in an aged care home. 

Experienced aged care Dietitians are committed to finding food solutions, a 'Food First approach' to meet older peoples' nutrition needs. Commercial nutrition supplements can play a role in aged care but will never take the place of quality food.

If you find that there is a high use of commercial supplements in a home it may mean that the menu needs to be reviewed by an aged care Dietitian to identify how the menu and food provided can meet the nutrition requirements of residents. But remember, it must be eaten for it to be nutritious!

About the Author: Nutrition Professionals Australia is a team of Accredited Practising Dietitians who consult to aged care homes across Australia. They have more than 40 years of combined experience in a range of roles, as Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitians, Food Services Coordinator, Residential Site Manager, Author of Nutrition Manuals and Consultant Dietitian. 

Posted in: Dietitian Protein Meal presentation Aged Care Puree Diets Malnutrition Menus Food Service Nutrition  

Are your Residents Meeting their Protein Needs?

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 31 October 2019
Are your Residents Meeting their Protein Needs?

It is now well established that older people need up to 90gms protein per day to maintain their muscle mass, strength and prevent frailty.  We also know that the protein needs to be distributed throughout the day, with 30gms at each meal. 

Typically, in an aged care home or even when older people receive home delivered meals, the midday meal will have the largest protein content.  Breakfast and the evening meal usually contain substantially less protein. 

How can you be sure that your residents are being offered adequate protein?

Protein requirements can be met by ensuring good quality protein foods are offered in adequate quantities at all meals. 

For example:
Breakfast: eggs, baked beans, yoghurt, milk-based drinks
Midday and Evening Meal: meat, fish, chicken, lentils, cheese, milky desserts

About the Author Nutrition Professionals Australia is a team of Accredited Practising Dietitians who consult to aged care homes across Australia.  They have more than 40 years of combined experience in a range of roles, as Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitians, Food Services Coordinator, Residential Site Manager, Author of Nutrition Manuals and Consultant Dietitian. 

Posted in: Dairy Nutrition Professionals Australia Dietitian Protein Aged Care Malnutrition Eggs Breakfast Menus Food Service Nutrition  
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