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)
Aged care homes are required under the Aged Care Quality Standards to provide safe and effective personal and clinical care (Standard 3). The care needs to be best practice and tailored the meet the needs of the residents and optimises their health and well-being.
NPA Accredited Practising Dietitians (APD) are very experienced in aged care nutrition. To demonstrate best practice, APDs should be included in the formulation of a nutrition care plan, particularly for residents that are facing nutrition challenges. In our experience, the APD can be bypassed and commercial nutrition supplements are used to 'fix the nutrition'. This is likely to result in a huge expensive to the aged care home. NPA, in most cases will be able to find cost effective, nourishing and enjoyable food solutions - our approach is Food First. For many residents, they would also prefer a food first approach. The APD will tailor the food solution to the residents individual food preferences.
NPA APDs can provide the clinical advice and the food system advice to solve the nutrition challenges without the large commercial supplement costs. Do you know how much you are spending on commercial supplements each month, each year? What are your food costs? What are the costs to the quality of life for residents?
If you would like to learn more about a food first approach and food solutions, contact me for your free 15 minute consultation (email@example.com)
All eight Aged Care Quality Standards can be demonstrated by the food systems and nutrition care in an aged care home.
Standard 2, Ongoing Assessment and Planning with Consumers can be demonstrated by regularly using a validated malnutrition screening tool. Malnutrition screening tools usually include weight and BMI and a range of other factors. Screening tools need to be simple, quick and easy to use but most importantly be validated.
Many electronic client record systems now include them as part of the program. Does your record system have one? Is it a validated tool and provide you with accurate information about your residents? Has your Dietitian assisted with the identification of a malnutrition screening tool?
When reviewing weight changes it's always a good idea, soon after admission, to speak with the resident and or family to really learn about the resident's weight history. Have they recently lost or gained weight, what is their usual weight? This is likely to provide very useful information when completing an assessment.
If you would like to learn more about validated screening tools and find out which is the best one for your situation, you are welcome to contact me for your free 15-minute consultation. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It's puzzling why aged care homes are referred to as aged care facilities.
Many official bodies and government departments will refer to these homes as facilities. If we really want to ensure that this is the home for older people, we need to start to change our language and refer to the buildings and organisations as homes. Perhaps we just might to start to make it feel like a home?
The same can said for residents versus consumers. There has been plenty of discussion about which term is right. From our experience, it appears that many people prefer the word resident over consumer. At the end of the day, they are people. Shouldn't we just refer to them as people?
Just some food for thought!
The new normal!
How are you adjusting to the new normal with COVID19? Have you been able to continue staff training?
NPA Nutrition and Aged Care Seminars are highly regarded and we would much prefer to provide this in person........but this just can't be done!
We are pleased to have successfully converted the 2 days into a series of webinars and registrations are now open! Many of the topics are relevant to community providers too.
For many years, NPA has provided complimentary e-learning modules for aged care staff in our contracted aged care homes or subscriptions to other aged care providers.
Providing best-practice evidence-based training for a range of staff is essential to achieve great outcomes for our most vulnerable both in the community and in residential aged care
NPA Hint No.12
Education can be delivered via webinar with staff on their own devices. Training continues to be required during this extended time. All staff need to understand their role and the impact of good nutrition and how they are part of the process. NPA has some affordable online programs that can be accessed by staff at any time, anywhere.