The Albanese Government is increasing its commitment to improve food, nutrition and the dining experience in residential aged care by establishing a food unit in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
The $12.9 million funding, part of a historic $36 billion aged care budget, will deliver a range of meaningful measures to enhance the quality of food for older people.
A new food 'hotline' for food complaints and advice will be established and staffed by specialists.
The support unit will also help providers build capability by linking them with support and education programs, including those delivered by accredited practising dietitians.
The support unit will:
- triage food hotline calls based on the nature and level of risk to older people
- coordinate up to 720 provider spot checks annually, with 10% of spot checks of the highest risk services to have accompanying dietitians
- support providers to build capability by linking them with education programs
- engage Dementia Australia experts to promote nutrition and food enjoyment for people with dementia.
To further enhance the capability of providers, up to 500 menu and mealtime assessments will be conducted by independent practising dietitians to increase providers’ knowledge and capability to deliver nutritionally balanced menus.
New dietary guidelines and resources for older people will also be developed. These guidelines will support good nutritional intake and reduce malnutrition risk.
Older people receiving in-home care, and in-home care providers delivering food services, will benefit from these guidelines and other resources.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells:
“The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring everyone living in residential aged care receives nutritious meals.
“Older people have a right to enjoy quality food and will now have a simple way to report inadequate food.
“This $12.9 million investment will increase the capability and accountability of aged care providers to deliver good food and nutrition.
“The new Food, Nutrition and Dining Advisory Support Unit in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will be staffed by specialists, including those with dietetic clinical expertise.
“They will support consumers with a dedicated food hotline for food complaints and advice, and providers, by linking them with education programs, and we recognise the need to work lock-step with dietitians to lift the quality of food and nutrition in residential aged care.”