A federally-funded project is underway to create a set of national guidelines for meals services delivered to older Australians under the new Commonwealth Home Support Program.
The new guide for the home delivered meals sector will replace existing state guidelines and deliver greater national consistency in standards across services as part of the CHSP.
While the HACC Meals Review originally recommended developing a set of national ‘nutrition guidelines’, the Australian Meals on Wheels Association (AMOWA) successfully argued for ‘meals guidelines’ instead to recognise the importance of covering other areas such as accessible packaging, texture, appearance and consumer choice, in addition to the nutritional content of meals.
AMOWA, which received the government grant, has commissioned the University of Wollongong’s Smart Foods Centre to develop the guidelines for delivered and centre-based meals.
The project’s research team is inviting participants including clients, volunteers, service providers, dietitians and cooks, to comment on the content of the guidelines through workshops to be held in March and April.
An online survey will also be circulated in late April as part of the consultations.
Dietitian and project leader Associate Professor Karen Walton from the University of Wollongong said the guidelines aimed to be practical, user-friendly and contemporary.
The project team was also undertaking a literature review to ensure the guidelines were underpinned by the latest research evidence, she said.
“This is a fresh opportunity to further enhance nutrition support for older adults in the community and deliver practical advice to service providers,” she told Community Care Review.
Associate Professor Walton said she expected the workshops and survey to engage people on a wide range of topics relating to home delivered meals including nutrition and appetite, serving size, the social importance of food and the value of delivered meals as an opportunity to monitor an older person’s overall health and wellbeing.
The completed national meals guidelines will be released on 31 August, which coincides with National Meals on Wheels Day.
For more information on the project and public consultation, including workshop dates, go to the Australian Meals on Wheels Association website.
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