Oct 28, 2022

Dietitians Australia believe Budget money to fix aged care malnutrition misused

28_10_22 Maggie Beer

Dietitians have criticised the Federal Government’s decision to allocate $5 million of the Budget to the Maggie Beer Foundation to improve food in aged care, claiming that money should have been put towards hiring dietitians to oversee facility menus. 

The Federal Budget was revealed this week, which saw the Maggie Beer Foundation provided substantial funding over three years to improve food and nutrition in facilities.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of peak body Dietitians Australia, Robert Hunt, said the TV chef’s input will “provide great culinary education and training to aged care chefs and cooks”, but that won’t guarantee nutritious meals for residents.

Malnutrition has been estimated to affect about half of all aged care residents and Mr Hunt explained that to fix this funding needed to be given to dietitians to oversee menus within aged care facilities. 

“We would have liked to have seen funding for the National Nutrition Policy, including food security,” he said.

“Dietitians are an underutilised health workforce. We have the capacity right now and we stand ready to help the Government fundamentally address the real issues of food and nutrition in aged care.

“We need both chefs and dietitians funded if we want to turn the tables on malnutrition in aged care.”

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety heard some providers were spending less than $6 a day per person on food.

The Morrison Government implementing a $10-a-day supplement in July last year, but the Dietitians Australia recommended that the additional funding should be only provided on the condition that facilities conduct an annual review of the adequacy of their food in consultation with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) to meet residents’ nutritional requirements. 

Mr Hunt said that while they were promised a “wellbeing Budget”, there wasn’t much in the areas of preventative health or the utilisation of the full range of health workers.

He explained that Dietitians Australia hope to see far more considered funding going into the actions of these preventative health strategies announced in May’s Federal Budget. 

Maggie Beer has long advocated for better food in aged care through her Foundation, which actively works with providers through education and training programs.

She was contacted for comment by HelloCare in regards to this concern from Dietitians Australia, but did not respond in time of publishing.

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  1. All of the education and dietician reviews won’t make any difference if providers only spend $6 per day on food.
    Aged care providers are businesses that need to make a profit, they will spend as little as they can get away with.

  2. Maggie Beer’s programs are a commercial and expensive enterprise which are out of reach in terms of affordability for many providers. More money towards dietitians who can tailor-make programs for individuals, instead of doing what a Maggie Beer cook book can do, would be far more beneficial to our residents.
    Thought we are supposed to be doing person-centred care not making the rich richer.

  3. You are going to need more than Maggie to fix aged care food Facilities don’t care I have complained and complained and complained I showed them photos of the disgusting food that they served they were more piss off I had photo than the state of the food. Or lack of Maybe Maggie send some in under cover to see the Appalling. Food And lack of. Untrained cooks with no cooking experience be hired just to fill the role This we ask the residents and they say all is good. OF course they are going to they LIVE their facilities Will target them like they do staff when you complain. If anyone out thinking of come to aged care think agian.

  4. As a chef I worked aged care for about 12 years only one facility had a dietitian approve the seasonal menu.
    I have had my doubts about mbf as the meals and her recipes do not work in a bulk cooking one chef kitchen.
    I’ve wondered how her foundation works ? Is it like most charities and are extremely heavy $ at the top ??

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