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  

Eating with our EYES!

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 17 October 2019
Eating with our EYES!

The old adage 'We Eat With OUR Eyes' holds true even in an aged care home. It's always important to present meals in an attractive way.

As we age, our appetite decreases but our need for some nutrients increase, so meal presentation is even more important.  The food needs to look enticing, smell delicious and taste great.

When a person needs a modified texture meal, for example smooth pureed or minced and moist it is even more challenging to present the meal attractively.  In recent times, food molds are being used more commonly which really can help to make a difference.  If this can't be done, remember, piping foods, making slices, presenting the meal in a ramekin or a dessert in a lovely glass can make all the difference.

Food is one of life's pleasures and even more so as we age!

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: Nutrition Professionals Australia Dietitian Meal presentation Aged Care Malnutrition Menus Food Service Nutrition  

Are you IDDSI compliant?

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 3 October 2019
Are you IDDSI compliant?

Is your home or service IDDSI compliant? 

From May of 2019, the terminology used to describe and classify modified texture meals and fluids was formally adopted across the community, country and the world. 

There are minor but very significant changes to the way the textures and thickened fluids are described.  Many resources can be found at www.iddsi.org and there are apps available to help you through the journey. 

It's important that all the members of the team - nursing, care, food service, lifestyle and volunteers - are familiar with the changes.  

So, have you made the change to IDDSI? 

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: Nutrition Professionals Australia Fluids Dietitian Meal presentation IDDSI Aged Care Puree Diets Malnutrition Food Service Nutrition  
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