Food and nutrition in aged care – regulation and compliance

Through regulation, compliance and reporting requirements, we are increasing the capability and accountability of residential aged care providers to ensure they provide older people with nutritious food.

Quality standard for residential aged care

We have included a dedicated Food and Nutrition Standard (Standard 6) in the draft strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards. This standard will include the following expectation statement for older people:

'I receive plenty of food and drinks that I enjoy. Food and drinks are nutritious, appetising and safe, and meet my needs and preferences. The dining experience is enjoyable, includes variety and supports a sense of belonging.'

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) recently piloted Standard 6. The standards are proposed to be implemented on commencement of the new Aged Care Act. Once implemented, all residential aged care providers in Australia must comply with this standard.

Find out more about the:

Advisory group

The ACQSC has established a specialised Food, Nutrition and Dining Advisory Support Group which will:

  • manage up to 720 targeted monitoring visits to aged care homes each year, with 1 in 10 of the highest-risk visits to include dietitians
  • build residential aged care providers’ capability by linking them to education programs
  • roll out 1,000 menu and mealtime assessments, completed by Accredited Practising Dietitians
  • work with Dementia Australia to promote nutrition and food enjoyment for people living with dementia.

Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline

Aged care providers and staff can call the Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline to speak with professionals to discuss issues, ideas or concerns they may have about providing an enjoyable food, nutrition and dining experience.

The Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline is available on 1800 844 044, 9am to 5pm AEDT, Monday to Friday. 

Transparency and accountability

To improve transparency and accountability, we are publishing information received from aged care providers about food and nutrition. This helps to measure and monitor improvements over time.

Star Ratings for residential aged care

Food and nutrition affect a residential aged care provider’s Star Rating. We collect food and nutrition information through:

  • Residents’ Experience survey – each year, we ask at least 10% of residents (or their representatives): ‘Do you like the food here?’
  • Compliance – based on regulatory decisions by the ACQSC related to food and nutrition standards
  • Staffing – based on the reported time (in minutes) personal care workers spend helping residents to eat
  • Quality Measures – including measures that are affected by food and nutrition.

To view Star Ratings for providers, use the ‘Find a provider’ tool.

Quarterly reporting 

All residential aged care providers must report on how much they spend on food and nutrition through the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR). The reporting covers: 

  • oral nutrition supplements  
  • oral health living costs 
  • allied health costs and hours 
  • the food preparation model, including catering type and location 
  • food catering costs, including whether food and ingredients are classified as ‘fresh’ 
  • food preparation hours.

Providers of Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care (NATSIFAC) services must also report on the number of available bed days. 

See the QFR food and nutrition reporting explanatory notes for guidance on completing QFRs. 

We publish this information through:

We will publish more information at the service level through the new Provider Operations reporting and Dollars Going to Care measures, which will be accessible on My Aged Care from February 2024.

Referring providers

We refer residential aged care services who spend less than $10 per resident per day on food and ingredients to the ACQSC

The ACQSC will decide an appropriate action after considering other information such as: 

  • quarterly reporting information  
  • complaints 
  • residents’ experience data 
  • quality indicator data. 

Quality indicators reporting

Approved providers of residential aged care services must report data to the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program every 3 months. 

Food and nutrition can affect the following quality indicators: 

  • pressure injuries 
  • unplanned weight loss 
  • consecutive unplanned weight loss 
  • falls and major injury. 

This helps providers improve the quality of their services. 


Aged care food and nutrition reporting requirements contact

Contact us if you have questions about aged care nutrition reporting requirements.
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