Nutrition Management & Unannounced Agency Visits

Nutrition Matters Newsletter June 2019

Be Confident in your Nutrition Management with an Unannounced Agency Visit.

We are now almost 12 months down the track after the change to unannounced visits, and nutrition continues to be a strong focus of many accreditation visits.

Nutrition management within an aged care home covers a wide range of areas and involves all staff. It can be daunting to figure out where to start in reviewing your nutrition management. Below we outline a few key areas that are crucial to ensuring your home is providing high quality nutrition & hydration for your residents. This also means that your home will be ready for unannounced agency visits.

Nutrition Policies are only as strong as the staff using them

The important thing about your nutrition policy is that it reflects best practise, is clear and easy to follow, and that actual practise in the home follows the policy.

Are residents being weighed as described in your nutrition policy? What happens when there is a change in weight for a resident? A home recently had a resident with a 10kg loss of weight in a month. Staff did not re-weigh the resident, there was no nurse follow up or assessment as to a possible reason for the weight loss and no further documentation on the weight loss.  A direct dietitian referral is usually not enough. If nutrition policies are not used and difficult to follow, it may need to be updated.

Your menu can show how you are providing Nutrition and Hydration

A dietitian should be frequently reviewing your menu.

Improvements or recommendations from a menu review should be tracked and documented to show continuous improvement. It’s also important to know if your catering team are following the current documented menu. If they aren’t, what are the reasons and does the menu need to change? Are there ways in which this is monitored (i.e. recipes, documentation)? There also needs to be a clear process for how the kitchen obtains and stores communication on menu choices or dietary preferences.

Maintaining documentation doesn’t need to be hard

Dietitian progress notes, care plans, dietary requirement forms/menu choices, kitchen forms and medication charts need to be consistent with each another and reflect updates/changes.

Pay particular attention to texture modified diets and fluids, supplement dosages and special diets. Do staff know where to look if they require certain information about a resident’s diet? Who is responsible for updating the forms/documents? We have seen cases where a Speech Pathologist has recommended a downgrade in a diet texture. The nurse updates the Care Plan and the Dietary Requirements form for the kitchen. The kitchen did not receive the Dietary Requirements form so was not aware of the change and the resident was still provided a diet texture that was unsafe for them to consume. Another common documentation concern we see is when a dietitian recommends a supplement drink to treat malnutrition. The supplement drink is not added to the resident’s medication chart, the resident does not receive it for another month and then continues to lose further weight.

Nutrition and Hydration Audits

Leading Nutrition is committed to working with all types of aged care homes. We want to ensure that you are confident in your Nutrition and Hydration Management, so that it will stand up to scrutiny in any unannounced agency visit.

If you are requiring additional assistance with reviewing and maintaining the above or others areas, you might find a Leading Nutrition – Nutrition and Hydration Review useful. A Leading Nutrition specialist aged care dietitian will review all areas of nutrition and hydration. We will identify areas of excellence and also provide recommendations for improvement. This will mean that your home remains re-accreditation ready and the report also supports your continuous improvement plan.

More Information on Nutrition and Hydration Audits

It’s important to remember to be accreditation ready for Nutrition and Hydration all year round. Call us on 1300 712 722 or complete the contact form below.