Dietitians Australia is demanding more accountability from the aged care sector following the release of last week’s Residential Aged Care Quality Indicators – October to December 2021.

With malnutrition affecting up to 50% of people in aged care, the report shows significant unplanned weight loss has risen from 13 173 people in the quarter to June 2021, to 13 586 people in the quarter to December 2021. This is despite $350 million in Government Basic Daily Fee Supplements disbursed to residential aged care homes through this period.

“Last week’s report is an indicator of the poor quality of care that our older Australians continue to receive,” said Chief Executive Officer of Dietitians Australia, Robert Hunt.

“It’s evidence that the government’s money will continue to be absorbed in supplementing profits by residential aged care homes unless urgent accountability measures are put in place.”

Dietitians Australia welcomed Albanese’s $2.5 billion aged care plan announcement last week but warns that this latest result is indication of how money will not fix the problem. The organisation believes that mandatory malnutrition screening and annual menu and mealtime audits are key to ensuring the individual health needs of older Australians are being supported.

“Malnutrition is the silent killer attacking our parents and grandparents, and it’s our duty to ensure everything is being done to prevent the suffering of our older Australians,” Robert said.

“Mandatory malnutrition screening and measures to improve the quality of meals served to people in aged care should be basic requirements throughout the sector. There should be accountability through an annual menu and mealtime audit performed by a dietitian, not the current self-evaluation.”

In response to Albanese’s pledge to ensure 24/7 nursing care is mandated in the sector, Dietitians Australia also stands by the Australian College of Nursing who is advocating for the government to support workforce solutions.

“Malnutrition increases the risk of falls, pressure injuries, hospital admissions and COVID-19 infections among other health risks and that burden currently falls on nursing staff,” Robert said.

“Dietitians can play a critical role in the aged care workforce through preventive measures by ensuring the nutritional needs of people in aged care are met.”


Robert Hunt is available for interview.

Tally of unplanned weight loss:

Weight loss – number of care recipients

Oct – Dec 2019

Jan – March 2020

April – June 2020

July – Sept 2020

Oct – Dec 2020

Jan-March 2021

April – June 2021

July – Sept 2021

Oct-Dec 2021

Significant unplanned weight loss

14 733

16 463

13 161

13 836

14 985

14 429

13 173

12 512

13 586

Consecutive unplanned weight loss

15 398

14 580

12 738

13 338

15 274

14 391

12 770

13 780

14 803

Media enquiries

For further information contact Jael Napper | 0410 967 509 |

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.