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Aged Care Communities Monitor Food Intake to Keep Residents Healthy



Owner of nursing home and aged care alternatives in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast reveals the hidden causes of plate waste.

Australia, 11 August 2014 - “Plate waste” is an aged care industry term describing the food residents leave on their plates. Monitoring plate waste has become an integral part of providing adequate care because of what it can tell caregivers about the patient.

It is the duty of any aged care facility to make sure that the residents receive adequate nutrition. The first component of adequate nutrition is the menu itself. Menus are put together to ensure that residents receive a variety of foods and that they receive their daily nutritional requirements every day. Too little food can cause them to lose weight. Too much food can cause them to gain weight.

The other component of adequate nutrition is delivering the food in the proper portions and making sure that the residents are eating all of it. Portions can be adjusted for factors such as size and gender: for example, a petite woman won’t require as much food as a large man.

Once the food has been delivered in proper portions, plate waste is monitored to ensure that residents are eating all of their food. When a resident loses what is deemed an unhealthy amount of weight, food intake is monitored. If they aren’t receiving adequate nutrition, it can be for a variety of reasons. If they are, inadequate nutrition is eliminated as a cause and a doctor is notified.

Causes of Plate Waste

Menu

In a standard facility, everyone eats the same food every meal. The menu is selected to provide variety, popular choices and adequate nutrition. If the menu fails in any of these aspects, it can be the cause of plate waste.

Resident’s Food Intake Choices

When residents start leaving excessive food on their plates, it can be for a variety of reasons. They may not be getting the assistance they need to eat all of their food. They may be on a “special menu” of food that has been processed into pulp and not like the texture or maybe not even be able to recognise it.

They may not like what’s on the menu. They may not like the dish because the recipe was changed or not executed as well as it was previously. Another important factor is choice: if they only have one entree every meal and weren’t allowed to participate in the process of formulating the menu, they can feel disenfranchised and not want to participate in eating the food.

One Community’s Solution

Tall Trees Care Communities, an alternative to nursing home and aged care in the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas, provide a novel solution: choices. According to Phil Usher, Co-founder of Tall Trees, “Our residents select from a full menu provided by our chefs every day. They can eat in their apartments or in a common dining hall. We encourage independence and provide choices. Anything less would be unacceptable.”

Tall Trees Care Communities are the foremost aged care and nursing home alternatives on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. Residents own their homes and determine their own level of care. To learn more, call (07) 3442 9378 or visit their website: http://www.talltrees.net.au/.