Posted in Nutrition

I can't eat all of that!

Posted by Nutrition Professionals Australia on 12 March 2020

We often hear older people exclaim: 'I can't eat all of that'!  The meal size may look quite small to us when our appetites are healthy.  Unfortunately, as we age, activity and appetites can dwindle.  We must keep this in mind when we are providing meals- we need to offer a range of serve sizes.  This can be very challenging.

Many aged care homes document that residents require a small, medium or large serve.  In practice what does this mean?  Do we use different sized serving utensils for each size?  Over the years, NPA have seen very few homes that have standard serves sizes documented with the respective serving utensils.  It is often left to each staff member to determine the size of the meal.

If the serves are bigger than the resident's appetite, we run the risk of them not eating anything at all and the resident becoming even more malnourished.  If a resident requests small or extra small serves, this should be respected but the mid meals and nourishing fluids become even more important as a source of nutrients.

If a resident requests a small, medium or large serve we need to provide the right quantity consistently across the menu!

Communication is the Key!

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 27 February 2020

Residents in an aged care setting must receive the correct meal at the correct time, every day.  

If a resident has a special dietary need, the details are recorded in the resident's care plan and communicated carefully to the kitchen staff to ensure all the dietary limitations are actioned.  More importantly the resident is not unnecessarily restricted and as many choices are provided as possible. We can use a range of communication methods to ensure that this occurs. 

The system for communication between nursing staff and kitchen staff should be effective, simple and safe.  A Dietitian and Speech Pathologist often contribute to this food and nutrition care plan and will also communicate directly with the kitchen staff.  The resident's dietary details list will need to be maintained.  So, when there is a change for a resident, that change is immediately communicated with the kitchen and any lists used are immediately updated.

It must be very clear whose responsibility it is to update all lists to ensure they are accurate and reflect the residents' current dietary needs. These lists must also be referred to whenever providing food or fluids to any residents.

What system of communication do you use? Are you relying on paperwork or do you use a clinical software system? Are you using a dedicated food service software system? Reports from client software packages can ensure that all information is up to date at all times and they can generate usable lists that can be referred to in the kitchen.  A key factor is to keep the system that you use simple. Minimise the number of lists- the more lists there are, the more likely it is that they will not match.

When NPA conduct audits of nutrition care it is very common to find anomalies when comparing the care plans with lists in the kitchen.  Regular audits should be undertaken by the care home to ensure integrity of the information and to provide reassurance that the right meal is provided to the right person.

Understanding food related risks- workshop

Posted by Nutrition Professionals Australia on 17 February 2020

Does your organisation understand its food and nutrition risks? Are you meeting the new Aged Care Quality Standards for Nutrition Care? What is the real cost of poor nutrition in your organisation?

The food served in aged care homes is in the spotlight. Consumers are increasingly demanding a better quality of food and have greater needs than ever before. In addition, the costs associated with providing good food and good nutrition care are increasing.

The true costs of providing the correct nutrition to consumers is hidden. Do you know how much you spend on oral nutrition supplements, aperients, wound dressings and wound care? Food Services are often seen as separate from Clinical Care when in fact food and nutrition sit under every one of the new Aged Care Quality Standards,

NPA are offering a new workshop in 2020:


CLICK HERE for a program.

Adelaide Pavillion

Friday 3rd April 2020 | 8.00am to 12.00pm | Registration at 8.30am

This workshop will explore how the new standards relate to nutrition care. This workshop is designed for all Managers in Aged Care Homes- CEO/ Site Manager/ Care Manager/ Food Service Manager/ QI Coordinator and wll assist your organisation to:

  • Meet Accreditation standards for nutrition care
  • Identify nutrition risks for your residents
  • Understand your menu offering and dining experience
  • Improve knowledge of nutrition needs of consumers
  • Decrease cost of supplements, wound dressings and aperiants
  • Ensure accurate catering for allergies and dysphagia
  • Minimise numbers of consumers with indicators for mandatory reporting
  • Contain costs

CLICK HERE to register for the day.



Think ST Solutions will also provide a seminar in the coming weeks to complement NPA's approach: Reviewing a Food Safety Management Plan.

Adelaide Pavillion

Friday 15 May 2020 | 9am to 12pm

Andrew Thompson states that: "Food safety compliance is an area of operational risk which is largely overlooked across the foodservice sector. Ignoring operational risk can expose any foodservice operation to significant losses."

To register contact Andrew on or see website

All managers are encouraged to attend both workshops to truly undertand the risks associated with food and nutrition in aged care and to ensure compliance with Accreditation standards.


Keeping those fluids up!

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 13 February 2020
Trying to meet hydration needs of older people is always challenging but it is even more challenging in the peak of Summer in Australia.  As described in the last article, many foods such as custard and soups provide fluid and some nutrition and these should be used as a priority.

Other practical strategies to increase fluid intake include:

  • Identify those at risk of dehydration
  • Record and review consumption
  • Encourage enthusiastically
  • Encourage residents to drink with others
  • Use familiar cups or mugs
  • Offer fluids at every meal and snack
  • Offer a wide variety of drinks
  • Offer preferred fluids - resident may drink cordial better than water
  • Offer iceblocks/ icecreams/ jellies

Quench that thirst!

Posted by Julie Dundon AdvAPD on 11 February 2020

When the mercury hits above 40, it is challenging for all of us to meet our hydration needs.  It's even more difficult as we get older as our thirst is often reduced and we don't always know when we need more to drink.  Women need at least 8 glasses (2 litres approx.) of fluid per day and men need at least 10 glasses (2.5litres approx.).  In the hot weather it's likely those quantities increase even further.

Food has fluid too - up to 500 to 700ml depending on the food eaten, so the actual fluid that needs to be taken as drinks to prevent dehydration may only be 1200 to 1500ml.

Examples include

  • Soups
  • Custard, ice cream, junket, yoghurt
  • Stewed fruit, canned fruit, pureed fruit
  • Cereal with milk, porridge
  • Ice-blocks or icy-poles
  • Jelly

Water, tea, coffee and diet cordial drinks provide fluid but no nourishment.

It is a myth that tea and coffee are dehydrating for regular users. If someone drinks tea or coffee on most days then the body adapts to the potential diuretic effects- they are a good source of fluid.

Juice, milk, milkshakes and commercial supplements provide excellent nutrition at the same time as the fluid so are great choices.

Even ordinary cordial, soft drink and sports drinks provide sugar and some valuable calories when someone is underweight.

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