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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. 

Author:Julie Dundon AdvAPD
Tags:DietitianAged CareMalnutritionFood ServiceNutrition