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Aged Care Dietitians are only spending 36 minutes per Resident per year!? Not Good Enough

The Quarterly Financial Snapshot (QFS) of the Aged Care Sector has been released for July to September 2022, which has highlighted such little time Dietitians are spending per resident. This is the first-time aged care providers were required to report on allied health costs against specific categories. While we are grateful to finally have these figures included in the quarterly snapshot, this figure needs to improve. Especially when compared to Canada where it is mandatory for each Aged Care resident to be allocated 30 minutes per month with a Dietitian. So, the question is, why is Dietetic time valued less in Australian Aged Care homes?


Aged Care Dietitians are only spending 36 minutes per Resident per year!? Not Good Enough

From our experience in the industry, part of the problem is it’s the lack of understanding in how Dietitians can improve the lives of our Aged Care residents. By having consistent dietetic support on hand, it has been shown to reduce the ongoing health effects and financial costs relating to malnutrition. Wounds, falls, hospital admission and additional staff costs can reduce by consulting regularly with an Accredited Practising Dietitian.


Do you have a regular Dietitian to refer to? Or do you know how a Dietitian can assist and support your nutrition program? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!


Step 1: Know when to refer to a Dietitian

Unintentional weight changes are the main reason to refer to a Dietitian, however did you know that there are many other reasons that are just as critical? Refer to a Dietitian for any of the following:

  • Chronic cachexia, malnutrition – at risk of malnutrition or malnourished

  • BMI <23kg/m2

  • Ongoing symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation

  • Following a positive COVID result

  • Infection, wounds, pressure injuries

  • Diabetes and unstable Blood sugar levels

  • Acute CVA

  • Underlying renal/liver failure

  • Enteral Feeding (e.g. PEG feeds)

  • Blood test results that are out of reference range (e.g. electrolytes)

  • and the list goes on...


Click here to download our “when to refer to a Dietitian” complete guide. Print this poster and educate all the staff to when to refer to a Dietitian. Our Dietitians provide thorough one-on-one personalised support for Aged Care Residents. The more people know when to refer, the greater the care for our residents.


Step 2: Nutrition Training for all staff

Whether you’d like to organise a quick refresher or a detailed nutrition education for your team or resident family members, our Dietitians can help you. With 32 Dietetic aged care specific topics, there are so many to choose from, including:

  • Diabetes management

  • Dementia nutrition

  • Portion Perfection

  • Malnutrition

  • The Mealtime experience

  • Food and Fluid charting


Contact us for the complete list of the nutrition education topics for Aged Care Homes.

We can educate on any topic nutrition-related, even if your topic is not listed.



Step 3: Menu and Mealtime Assessments & Menu Reviews

Having your foundation right is a great starting point. Every single menu for every season, every year requires Dietitian input. Dietitians ensure that there is adequate choice for residents (eg. hot meals offered at least twice per day) and that the key nutrients in Aged Care (calcium, protein, fibre, iron and energy) are included. In Aged Care, 100% (or majority) of a resident’s intake is provided by the Aged Care home, so Dietitians ensure the menus are developed to provide adequate amounts of each food group as per the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating for the resident’s age group.


Get the experts in this space onboard to assist you with all your menus! Click here to find out your options for menu reviews by a Dietitian.


But all this cost’s money

Yes and That’s why there’s an extra $10 per resident per day for Food & Nutrition

The royal commission had revealed that as many as 68% of aged care residents were either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. A permanent increase in the Basic Daily Fee of $10 per day per resident was introduced. They see the value of the Dietetic support for our residents. This extra funding can go a long way towards residents’ food, but of course for dietetic services.


Dietetic services include one-on-one Dietitian assessments with residents, nutrition training with staff and improving menus, which can come out of the extra funding. By having an experienced Aged Care Dietetic team support you (like us), it can save you money and improve care to our most vulnerable Australians.


Meet our experienced Aged Care Dietitians

This amazing team is a large group of wonderful Accredited Practising Dietitians, spread out across Australia to service so many locations. All OSCAR Care Group Dietitians offer an evidence-based patient-centred care approach and check all the compliance basics.


The team is incredibly culturally diverse, which is fantastic for supporting the cultural diversity within aged care homes, with staff and residents, as well as personalising menus to include culturally appropriate meals suitable to the residents within each home.


Every OSCAR Care Group Dietitian is friendly, caring, has great team work skills and works with each home and staff to suit each home best – we know that no two aged care homes are alike! We tailor our services to you and what you home needs.


The dietetic world is changing. The Aged Care & Childcare Spaces are changing. We have monthly Dietitian teleconferences for continuous professional development, regular progress note feedback and mentoring and many webinars through the year to keep up-to-date with the latest research and guidelines.


What do our Dietitians offer Aged Care Homes around Australia?

  • Assessing Residents in Aged Care Homes

  • Assessing Residents in Disability Support Homes

  • Home Visits as part of Home Care Packages

  • Menu Reviews and Menu Development

  • Recipe Development and Recipe Analysis

  • Recipe Books

  • Nutrition Education

  • Hands-on training


To Wrap up

Dietitians are needed in Aged Care, in so many ways. It is time that ALL Aged Care homes work towards reaching out for dietetic support to benefit all residents, the staff and the home overall.


Start referring to Dietitians for better support for your residents now. Aged Care homes have additional funding for this reason. Dietitians are a fantastic source for reliable and evidence-based information. Google is not your friend for nutrition information – there is so much out there from celebrities, influencers, ads and social media.


To discuss further the benefits of having an experienced Aged Care Dietetic Team to support your residents, gain accurate information, menu review or any nutrition-related training, please reach out.


Together, let’s give our residents the best care possible.

 

Kiarra Martindale, Lead Dietitian for OSCAR Care Group

We have a bunch of webinars throughout the year by our Dietitians. They're free too! Register today.



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