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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Big Stick finally sees improvement to provision of age care nutrition

New compulsory reporting on food and nutrition in residential aged care has revealed the amount providers spend each day, per person, has increased significantly. Data collected through a new quarterly reporting system shows that the average spend on food and nutrition for residents has risen considerably since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety cited $6 per day as found in a 2017 study. Rather than reducing the profits of Age Care providers the increase might be due to the fact that since 1 July 2021, the Government has provided an additional $10 per day per resident to eligible residential aged care providers. From July to December 2021, the average spend per person per day in residential care was more than $12. It doesn't take much to work out that if it was $6 per day before July 1st 2021 and the Government provided an additional $10 per day per resident the average of $12 per day means that someone is pocketing $4 per day of Government money but still complying with the new requirements.

By the end of December 2021, approximately $350 million was distributed to residential aged care providers to improve the delivery of care and services including food and nutrition.

To continue to receive this 2021 Basic Daily Fee supplement, providers are required to report to the Department of Health every three months on food and nutrition expenditure, and the quality of daily living services provided to residents.

The supplement was intended to be used by providers to improve health and nutrition outcomes.

Not all residential care services providers are meeting the standard however the figures released now indicate that less than two per cent of providers reported spending under $6 per resident, per day despite the additional funding

Of all 2600 residential care services which self-reported the data through My Aged Care the average daily spend was approximately $13.94 in Q1 and $14.27 in Q2.

Among the 75 per cent of services that reported expenditure on food and ingredients as on-site only, the average expenditure was $12.25 in the first quarter and $12.44 in the second.

The Department of Health will refer any provider spending less than $10 per resident per day, to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to consider regulatory action.

Providers have a responsibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents – but also that the funding is being used appropriately.

Additional actions being taken by the Department of Health to improve food and nutritional outcomes include:

  • Asking 20 per cent of senior Australians in residential aged care whether they like the food, as part of consumer experience interviews, and publishing the service level results on star ratings later in 2022;

  • Requiring residential aged care providers to collect and report on the new Quality Indicators, including unplanned weight loss, and publishing the service level results on star ratings later from December 2022; and

  • The urgent review of the Aged Care Quality Standards, which includes a focus on food and nutrition.

The quarterly self-reporting on food and nutrition, including oral health and meal preparation is intended to assist the Department of Health in working more closely with the sector to improve food practices.

The reports were developed in consultation with dietitians, nutrition experts and the aged care sector.

Further information about the food and nutrition reporting can be found here.


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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