Dietitians Australia is urging Australian families to dig deeper and investigate how nutrition is managed at their loved one’s aged care home, warning that the star rating falls short of providing information on the nutritional quality of food served.

The Star Rating system published on the My Aged Care website today, includes a question under the ‘Resident Experience’ rating that asks, “Do you like the food here?”.

“While the Star Rating system is a step in the right direction when it comes to providing families with a more informed choice about the quality of individual aged care services, it only scrapes the surface when it comes to food,” Dietitians Australia CEO Robert Hunt said.

“It is important that food is enjoyed, and introducing a resident food satisfaction rating is warmly welcomed.

“But we want to make sure the food being served to our older Australians in care is not only delicious – but nutritious.

“It is critical that Australian families understand that a food satisfaction rating is not a measurement of the nutritional quality of the overall menu, individual meals and snacks being served to residents.

“The only way we can all be assured that our loved ones are likely to be eating nutritious food while in care is if their provider has engaged an accredited practising dietitian to do a menu and mealtime assessment onsite.

“Dietitians Australia is demanding the Government mandate this as a requirement for all providers, at a minimum annually to ensure food is improved across all homes.

“We appreciate how distressing it will be for families who may today have realised that their loved one is in a residential home with a low star rating.

“Even more concerning, if they are in a position where there is no choice or option to move their loved one to a better performing residential home.

“If you want the best for your loved one when it comes to their nutrition, please engage with their provider, and ask them when the last time their food service menu was assessed by an accredited practising dietitian?"

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Note to editors: Dietitians Australia is the leading voice of nutrition in Australia, representing dietitians nationally and advocating for healthier communities. Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) is the only national credential recognised by the Australian Government as the quality standard for nutrition and dietetics services in Australia.