May 15, 2023

‘Silent faceless abuser’ targeted with crucial funding

aged care workers gives food to residents
Research shows that approximately 50% of aged care clients are either at risk of malnutrition or are malnourished. [Source: Shutterstock]

A collection of resources has been earmarked to tackle malnutrition in residential aged care facilities- the “silent faceless abuser” – by establishing a response unit and complaints hotline. 

From July, aged care workers and the loved ones of aged care residents will be able to file a report if providers deliver poor meals at their residential facilities in an attempt to create a milestone step in integrating dietitians into the aged care sector to properly combat malnutrition. A hotline has been put into place by the Federal Government and Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (the Commission) where complaints will be recorded.

The Commission expressed the importance of good quality food and nutrition for older people and called for nutrition to be improved in aged care in its final report. 

“This is the start of the end of malnutrition in aged care in this country. The only guaranteed way to lift the bar on the food and nutrition offerings is to include dietitians in the picture, and it appears the government has finally hit the mark on this.”

Significant consequences of poor nutrition can lead to an increased risk of falls and fractures, pressure injuries taking longer to heal and a higher risk of infection which puts more strain on aged care workers.

Funded by the most recent Federal Budget, almost $13 million was allocated to set up the hotline and new advisory body, to strengthen food and nutrition reporting by checking facilities of concern and their menus, and giving them more direct expert dietary advice to improve the residents’ dining experience. 

The initiatives will be delivered through the advisory body – the Food, Nutrition and Dining Advisory Support unit – which is a part of the Commission. 

Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, said the Government was “committed to ensuring everyone living in residential aged care receives nutritious meals” and that it recognises “the need to work lock-step with dietitians to lift the quality of food and nutrition in residential aged care”.

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  1. Why report or complain to the aged care regulator when nothing is done to hold providers to task for abuse and neglect. This includes reporting a case of malnutrition and dehydration to a resident and being the Coase of a death.

    1. I agree with Tony.
      No point making complaints.
      Complainants are not even give any opportunity to be heard or to be asked if they are satisfied complaint being addressed satisfactorily.

      Complaints for far too long and still happening aided and abetted by ACQSC as feedback and comments.

      People do not generally like to complain
      And if they do then something is wrong .

      It was thanks to Anne Connelly that a Royal Commission into aged care occurred.

      Hundreds and hundreds of people made submissions to that Royal Commission re abuse and neglect.

      Robodebt commission . Appears that terms of references for royal commissions should cater for opportunity to have closed recommendations for redress as well as recommendations

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