Meals & Nutrition

Type: Wellbeing

Guideline: Where meals are provided or supported by the organization, the organization works with the person to create healthy meals that the person enjoys. Meals and snacks meet people’s cultural and dietary needs, beliefs and preferences. Meal times are nourishing to the body and spirit and whenever possible are relaxed, fun opportunities for social connection.

What does this look like?

The organization ensures that people served create or have input into meals, snacks and grocery shopping (if applicable). Where people live with others, the organization assists the group to collaborate and create a menu or meal that meets the needs and preferences of the majority.

Where people need help with eating and drinking, this is carried out in a dignified safe manner. Referrals to clinical specialists such as dietitian, feeding and swallowing specialists or occupational therapists are facilitated as needed to ensure the person is safe when eating and drinking.

If able people are supported to make their own meals, snacks and drinks, and can choose to grow, cook and eat their own food where possible.

Where health conditions dictate changes in diet, appropriate health care professionals are sought to provide direction and input. The person and their support network (provided consent is given) is informed of the recommendations of the health care provider, the consequences of ignoring the advice and is supported to implement their decision.

People’s preferences, likes, dislikes, dietary needs and risks if any related to eating are documented in the person’s Support Plan and staff are trained to safely provide appropriate support.

Food should be varied, adequate in amount and based upon nutritionally sound principles.

Where swallowing difficulties have led to the use of a gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube for nutrition, the organization seeks ways to provide opportunities to maintain comfort and pleasure through taste in ways that don’t put them in risk.

Staff have nutritional training, meal preparation training and preferably food safety and handling training.

There are systems in place to ensure that food storage and best before dates are reviewed and remedied.

How would you know this is happening? (Evidence)

What you see in systems:

  • Support plans contain information about people’s dietary preferences and needs, what support they require to safely eat and drink and their preferred mealtime atmosphere and experience.
  • Training content and completion records for staff training.

What you see in actions:

  • People and their families report access to nourishing, healthy food that they prefer. They are actively involved in planning what they eat and meals are pleasant, social experiences.

Resources to support achieving guideline:

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