Standard 8, Aged Care Quality Standards refers to the accountability of the organisations governing body, which could be a Board, Executive or Proprietor.
When a menu audit is completed, is this shared with the governing body or left with the Manager to deal with? What is the process of communication in your organisation?
When considering food and nutrition, we often refer to a Food and Nutrition Policy which reflects the philosophy of the organisation towards the food and service to the residents. When conducting a menu audit, NPA always asks for a copy of a Food and Nutrition Policy.
However, to be a useful and relevant policy it needs to be owned and developed by the whole organisation, residents, managers and staff. Very often we find these policies are documents that have not been well communicated nor enacted.
What does your Food and Nutrition Policy look like? When and who last reviewed it? Does it include a contemporary approach to nutrition care? Did a Dietitian provide any input?
If you would like any assistance with developing a Food and Nutrition Policy or any procedures, don't hesitate to contact me.
Standard 7, Aged Care Quality Standards evaluates if staff have the right skills, knowledge, tools and resources to provide quality of care.
There are many myths about food and nutrition. Everyone makes multiple decisions each day about the food they choose to eat. Does that make everyone an expert? The answer is no! The nutrition needs for older people are quite different from those in their younger years and all aged care staff need the right information in their toolkit.
Training needs to be continually provided to ensure all staff understand about nutrition relating to their role. A food service assistant and lifestyle assistant both need tools, but they will be quite different, but the messages should be consistent. NPA has conducted training for many years. If one group of staff is upskilled and the remainder has not had a chance to learn the same information, it can often result in war at the kitchen door!
Where do the staff receive their nutrition information? When did the Dietitian conduct training? Was it for everyone?
Training can be provided via eLearning packages and NPA now provide interactive live web events increasing accessibility.
Contact me for information about NPA training options.
Standard 6, Aged Care Quality Standards refers to a robust and thorough feedback and complaints process.
As consumers, we all know there are times we want to give feedback- both positive and negative. Making it easy is the first step. Another very crucial step is responding to the feedback and following up. Our residents are no different. Receiving feedback or complaints is the first step in driving change and identifies the areas that we need to improve for our residents benefit.
When it comes to the food service, the Hospitality Manager, Chef or Cook maybe the most appropriate to investigate the complaint. In my experience as a Residential Site Manager, there were several occasions where I was also involved, especially in identifying the solution.
How do you seek feedback about the food service? Do you make it easy for residents to communicate their concerns or thoughts? How quickly do you respond? Who is responsible for following up? How is it handled?
If you would like to learn more about some different options, contact me any time.
Standard 5, Aged Care Quality Standards refers to the safety and comfort of the organisations service environment.
Over the years, we have seen the mealtime experience slowly improve in a number of homes, but we still have a long way to go. Some of the dining rooms are nothing more than a activity room with residents sitting around the perimeter of the room with meals on overway trays. Others have a wonderful environment that is warm, welcoming and oozes the scent of a delicious meal.
We know we enjoy a meal more and are likely to eat more when we are sitting with friends and family. If a resident confines themselves to their room for all their meals this should send some alarm bells and needs to be monitored more closely.
When serving the resident's meal, have a critical look at the dining room. Would you or your loved one like to eat every meal in this environment? Or would you prefer to move away and eat in your room every day?
If you would like to find out what easy things you can do, contact me any time.
Standard 4 of the Aged Care Quality Standards includes the food offered, by way of the menu.
The menu should be viewed as a vehicle for providing the residents with the opportunity to meet their nutrition needs. If it is full of energy dense, low nutrient, commercially prepared foods, we know the resident's nutritional intake will be poor. We also need to balance this with the resident food preferences which can be an interesting challenge and one which NPA APDs have a great deal of experience.
When was the last time your home had the menu audited? Has it been placed on hold over recent months? Has your food supply, or food service team changed? Do you know that your residents receive the correct meal? Is the documentation consistent?
NPA conduct menu audits against the Aged Care Quality Standards, providing a valuable report that guides continuous improvement. The on site visit is for a full day, often 7am to 6pm observing all the activities around food. In some situations, we can provide a remote service.
If you would like to know more about the NPA Menu Audit tool, contact me for your free 15-minute consultation. (firstname.lastname@example.org)