The new Aged Care Quality Standards, which come into effect from 1 July 2019, represent the first upgrade to the industry standards in 20 years. The new standards are substantially different in that they are built around consumer dignity and choice, rather than provider processes.
But what does choice really mean?
With consumers and their families likely to take a far more active and directive role in the provision of their care, one thing is clear: a vanilla only approach won’t address choice or individuality, either medically, or preferentially.
One of the key ways aged care residents can exercise choice is through diet and the dining experience.
Residents spend, on average, 45 per cent of their day dining, making it vitally important to provide food that matches their cultural tastes and preferences.
Most of us steer clear of foods and flavours that we dislike, so why should we expect our elderly in care to put up with it? It isn’t enough to serve food that is only nutritious and it isn’t enough to serve food that is just good. It has to be a blend of both. The best and ideal kind of meal is one that we choose ourselves.
Adding just this little bit of autonomy to someone’s day can have a truly positive impact on mental health and wellbeing, as it demonstrates control in an environment where there aren’t many other choices.
Further, evidence of good nutrition underpins many of the quality indicators that care organisations will be required to measure, monitor and report on as part of the Quality Indicators in residential Aged Care Program, which comes into effect on 1 July 2019.
Personalised care will be the new norm
Good care stems from independence and dignity. To respect those ideals, care organisations will need to take a personalised focus in their service delivery.
To prepare for the new standards, care organisations will need to review existing systems and processes, engage with residents and up-skill staff, and technology will be a key ingredient for success.
Our next article will examine how technology creates more choice for less cost, while increasing resident engagement and wellbeing.
SoupedUp is Australia’s leading catering software and online training provider to the care industry. Our proven technology solutions save facilities on average 19 per cent on catering costs^, while reducing the risks associated with food service delivery in an aged care setting. To learn more about SoupedUp’s solutions visit www.soupedup.com
^ Time and cost savings based on an aged care facility of 80-90 beds, including subscription fees. Source data based on average time and costs spent by 24 facilities switching from paper-based system to SoupedUp Catering.