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Aged Care Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessments are here

Let’s raise the bar! Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessments will be mandatory within Aged Care soon. The new Strengthened Quality Standards Framework created as a result of the recent Royal Commission findings brings a welcomed opportunity to raise the bar on the Nutrition, Food and Dining experience for residents. Residents will have choice and independence to make decisions about the food they want to eat, a varied and changing menu as well as meeting their nutritional needs.


In Aged Care, a varied diet of good food is vital to the nutritional health, wellbeing, and quality of life in older adults. A positive food and dining experience with choice, encourages residents to eat and drink well, which can help reduce the risk of malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss.


By mandating the Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessments in Aged Care, Dietitians use their expertise to help homes provide the best of care and meet this very important part of the Strengthened Quality Standards.


The Strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards

The strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards released their final draft in November 2023 with feedback closing at midday AEST on 30 April 2024. The strengthened Quality Standards are expected to be introduced with the commencement of the new Aged Care Act. Subject to being passed in Parliament, the new Act is planned to start on 1 July 2024.



Therefore, by the 1st of July 2024, every Aged Care Home will need to have had at least one Aged Care Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment per site. Have you had yours yet?


Menu and Mealtime Quality Assessments for Aged care under  The Strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards

Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessments

The Menu and Mealtime Quality Assessment developed by Dietitians Australia for the exclusive use by Accredited Practising Dietitians (like us!). This quality assessment provides practical and effective solutions for food service within residential aged care homes.


Our Accredited Practising Dietitians deliver expert assessment and recommendations for residents’ choice, nutritional care and menu and mealtime experience. Together this ensures the food that is cooked and served meets the dietary and nutritional requirements of the Strengthened Quality Standards framework.


What does a Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment involve?

This is an onsite visit by an OSCAR Care Group Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) to your residential aged care home. This includes interviews with relevant staff, an assessment of the menu, observations of the meal service, weighing of sample meal components and a review of documentation relevant to food and nutrition care and a desktop assessment of the menu.

Our Dietitians work with your team to ensure this process is as time and cost efficient as possible. We collaborate with your Chefs, Care staff, Residents and their families to provide the best recommendations and action plan for your facility, all whilst meeting the Aged Care Quality Standards.



FAQs about the Aged Care Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment

Here are some common questions we receive regarding Mandatory Aged Care Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessments for Aged Care Homes.


Can Aged Care Homes have the same menu across different sites within the same organisation?

Even if you are a large organisation with multiple sites, it will be a requirement that you will still need to have different menus, as the same single menu for all sites is not acceptable and will not meet the standards. 


The main reason this is not acceptable is because it does not factor into account personalised residents’ choices, preferences or cultural influences on the type of food depending on the residents, location of the aged care home and feedback at the individual site level.


Menus that are tailored for individual sites will better reflect the nutritional requirements appropriate to the age and life stage of residents, reflect special dietary needs and texture modified diets, consider psychosocial, cultural, and religious needs, offer food and fluids that residents enjoy and consider flexible meal timing and services of the aged care home.


We have multiple locations, is one Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment ok for all sites?

Each site within your organisation will require 1 onsite Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment annually.  Similar to the menu question, every site has unique needs for their residents, therefore each site will require its own onsite Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment at least annually. This will also be an expectation as part of the new drafted standards commencing 1 July 2024. 


Are Desktop menu reviews still acceptable in Aged Care?

Yes, as long as you have already had or scheduled at least one onsite Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment.  So, only one out of four seasonal menus per year needs to have Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment. Meaning the other 3 menus per year can be a desktop review.


Desktop Menu reviews are more affordable and quicker option, but still include a thorough review by an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Desktop menu reviews ensure your organisation is meeting guidelines, that the menu offers seasonal items, variety and includes resident feedback. Of course, you’re welcome to go above and beyond and have each menu reviewed with a Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment too.  The minimum requirement will be at least one per annum.  


Tick tock… July 2024 is around the corner.

Ensure your Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessment is scheduled for each home before the 1st of July 2024!  Back in 2022, we shared with you that mandatory Aged Care Menu & Mealtime Quality Assessments were on their way. We are thrilled to shout, they are here. Your residents and staff deserve more. For further updates, subscribe to our website. We’ll keep in the know for all Aged Care Quality Standards news.


We’re the experts in this space, get our team onboard to assist you with all your menus and speak to an OSCAR Care Group Dietitian today. Together, we can raise the bar on Nutrition, Food and Dining experience for residents.





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