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Pioneering nutrition study



Residential aged care facilities across the country are being asked to do their bit to help improve the understanding of food services and nutrition in aged care.

A University of Queensland PhD student is conducting Australia’s first national aged care menu survey to explore better practices in food services.

Karen Abbey, who is also a qualified dietitian and the manager of resident support services at Nambucca Valley Care on NSW’s mid north coast, is keen to investigate the factors that influence menu design.

Ms Abbey said she is inspired by her own experiences of poor nutrition in residential aged care.

“I have gone into a number of frail aged facilities and seen so many residents who are malnourished or teetering on the edge of malnutrition,” she said.

“There are a number of frail residents who are not eating well. The way in which menus are designed isn’t always delivering what residents require.”

After she has analysed the results of the survey, Ms Abbey hopes to develop a set of standards for menu planning in aged care.

“Aged care is going to get larger and the margins are going to get smaller so people are going to want to be savvy about how they operate their services and the menus are an important part of that,” she said.

“We want to look at how you can deliver efficient food services that meet the nutritional needs of residents.”

The survey has received ethics approval from the University of Queensland and a copy has been sent to every aged care facility in the country with a reply paid envelope.

If you have lost your copy of the survey or would like to find out more information about the survey, please call Karen Abbey on 0437 307 513 or send an email to karen.abbey@nvcl.org.au. The surveys must be completed and returned by Friday, 30 April.

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