This initiative, a component of the recently established Food, Nutrition and Dining Advisory Support Unit under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, connects callers with food and nutrition specialists, including dietitians.
Driven by a government-led effort to enhance the quality and healthfulness of food served in aged care facilities, experts are readily accessible to providers, aiding them in enhancing meal options and improving the dining experience for residents.
Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells emphasised the profound impact of food consumption and dining experiences on the overall well-being of older Australians. “I can’t be clear enough: food must be a priority in aged care,” Wells said.
Responding to the findings of the aged care royal commission, which indicated that 68% of residents faced malnourishment risks, the federal government established the $13-million Food Unit and hotline.
The hotline serves as an avenue for older individuals, their families, carers, providers, and aged care workers to voice concerns. The toll-free hotline can be reached at 1800 844 044.
To augment this initiative, the Maggie Beer Foundation offers free online training modules. These modules aim to enhance the capabilities of aged care chefs and cooks, contributing to improved nutrition standards.
Minister Wells highlighted, “What older Australians consume and their dining experience has a significant impact on their overall wellbeing. Australians were shocked when the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found that 68% of aged care residents were malnourished or at risk of malnourishment on the Coalition’s watch.”
“The Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline is another important step in the Albanese Government’s mission to make sure older people have access to nourishing food that improves their quality of life,” she added.
This new hotline underscores the collective endeavour to prioritise nutrition and dining experiences for the elderly, a critical aspect of their holistic well-being.