• Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

Witnesses told the royal commission that unplanned weight loss was “rife” because there was not enough money to buy food or staff to assist residents to eat.

Mar 1, 2021

Witnesses told the royal commission that unplanned weight loss was rife because there was not enough money to buy food or staff to assist residents to eat.
If the resident wants to eat party pies, let them. But if thats all weve got to offer, we need to look at other choices for them.
Sandra Juliano, Melbourne University
Food is also important to wellbeing, providing enjoyment through taste and smell, it said in the final report, titled Care, Dignity and Respect.
Too often we heard that residential aged care providers failed to meet the nutritional needs of people for whom they care and that they provided poor quality and unappetising food.
Sandra Iuliano, a senior research fellow with the University of Melbourne and a royal commission witness, said some facilities were doing a great job feeding residents, but others had much lower standards including serving party pies for meals.
If the resident wants to eat party pies, let them, the nutritionist said. But if thats all weve got to offer, we need to look at other choices for them.
Research led by Dr Iuliano at 60 nursing homes in Melbourne and regional Victoria found that 68 per cent of residents were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition
Protein intake was of particular concern, with a study of 21 facilities finding that residents were getting 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, short of the Australian recommended levels of 1.0 grams.
During the coronavirus pandemic, more extreme and rapid weight loss has been reported in aged care residents, as regular staff were furloughed during outbreaks and family members who used to visit and help feed loved ones were banned from entering homes.
Malnutrition has been linked with a significantly greater risk of hospitalisation.
Dr Iuliano welcomed the recommendation to almost triple spending on food in aged care, bringing the budget for aged care residents closer to an average spend for older adults in the community, which was just over $17 in 2016.
You should be able to put your loved one in a care facility anywhere in Australia and know they are going to receive good care, she said.
Food and nutrition was one of just four areas singled out by the report as in need of immediate attention, along with dementia care, the use of restrictive practices and palliative care.
Its been recommended the $10 per resident increase in daily fees be introduced no later than July this year. Its also been recommended the standards of meals in aged care facilities should be reviewed as part of a review of the Aged Care Quality Standards.
Catch all the days headlines
At the end of each day, well send you the most important breaking news headlines, evening entertainment ideas and a long read to enjoy.  Sign up to The Sydney Morning Heralds newsletter here, The Ages here, Brisbane Timeshere, and WAtodays here.