We are 12 months into the National Quality Indicators (NQI) Program and we now have many residential aged care facilities across Australia enrolled in the NQI program, collecting data on rates of unplanned weight loss across their resident groups.
In most of these homes, there are also
- Weight Management Policies,
- dietitian referral processes and
- staff initiated interventions,
all aimed at responding to unplanned weight loss.
This issue of Nutrition Matters looks more closely at how to manage this efficiently and how your dietitian can help.
It’s fair to say that with multiple systems in place to record, report and act on weight loss within residents, there is the risk that this can increase the burden on nursing, clinical and dietetic resources within facilities. Certainly we, at Leading Nutrition have seen many homes, where referrals to the dietitian are higher in the NQI data collection month!
This doesn’t need to be the case. It’s worth considering the following…
How does your existing weight policy compare to the parameters in the NQI reporting?
Having conflicting parameters in the weight management policy compared to what is in the NQI, could be confusing for everyone. It’s useful to take a look at which system is more stringent and captures the most “at risk” residents. Consider updating your policy to reflect what the practise is, if you are now in the NQI.
How well is your Existing policy being implemented by all staff?
A policy is only as good as the staff who know about it and use it. Collecting data for the NQI can seem to put additional pressure on staff, when in fact, the existing Weight Management Policy already supersedes the requirement of the NQI. Are you staff aware of this? Do they need upskilling and reminding that the existing policy, if used daily, already meets the need?