Author Archives: Jo Cleary

Your residents are not a homogeneous group

“Don’t worry dear, you will get used to it”.  “It takes a while to settle in and get used to the way things are done around here.”  These are comments I frequently hear residents telling new residents in aged care facilities. For many aged care homes and providers, tasks and a focus on compliance and safety still beat the drum.  Person-centred care is the dream but far […]

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She really is capable, you know

My 54 yo sister just moved into aged care after being accidentally hit by a car. She was already wheelchair bound with an MS like condition. No longer can Mum manage – becoming a carer at 83. First impressions for my sis were the keenness of staff to do everything for her. Cut her food, put a clothing protector on her, push her around in the wheelchair, […]

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Pivoting your aged care meal service into the 21st Century

Recently, Dr Bill Thomas, Founder of The Eden Alternative spoke at the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Better Practice Conference.  Bill had a very clear message:  we must ditch our current care methodology – WHAT YOU NEED.  This one way offering of competently providing the best services and support we think you need – services that are most easily monetised, measured and available for reimbursement.  People are less […]

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Innovating menu residential care

Are you tweaking or transforming your menu offering?

In residential aged care I often see similar meal offerings: 4 week revolving Dietitian-approved seasonal menu 1 or 2 hot choices for the main meal Morning and afternoon tea Soup in the evening Fish on Fridays Salad or sandwich for alternatives Standard meal hours Meals fresh cooked onsite Qualified Chef onsite  Here are some ways to innovate your menu offerings: Rolling menu – Creating and introducing a […]

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Why improving the meal service is like playing chess

Too often improving the meal service can seem like winners and losers in a Chess game, with some moves knocking out the other side (staff, residents, family) and unintentionally compromising other parts of the meal service (quality, safety, compliance). Each “move” or idea should progress the service forward, without unintended consequences for the next move and other pieces of the strategy. With 45+ “functional stakeholders” who can […]

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How’s your Dining Experience outside the dining room?

Emphasis on the aged care dining experience has increased with a transitioning demographic, new providers entering the sector, influence of family & social media and movement towards a resident co-contribution model. Where does the focus on quality stop and the concentration on compliance, safety, task and process take over when providing meals in residential aged care? At the oven in the kitchen? When food is delivered to […]

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Future skills for aged care staff

Last night I went to the launch of the Australian Technology Network of Universities Future Skills Series at QUT Brisbane. Speakers discussed future learning, capabilities for future career success, internal entrepreneurialism and designing your life by Kaizen. I reflected on staff skill-building and knowledge transfer for aged care staff, particularly catering staff. Many caring, dedicated staff I work with have been in their role for 10, 20, 25 […]

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If your dining room was a restaurant, would your residents eat there?

When I visit residential aged care facilities, it doesn’t take long to get the feel for a place, as I have mentioned before here and here.  The same is true in the dining room – it is often reflective of the organisational culture.  Interestingly, dining rooms can have their own sub-culture and differ between dining rooms even within the same facility. Our starting point when reviewing a […]

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Assisting with oral care – one of the least liked tasks

Yesterday my friend rang me asking if I knew of any subsidised dental service her father could access.  He had difficulty eating his meals and didn’t want people seeing his condition so was feeling isolated. He could not afford to pay for private dental treatment and feared he would lose his independence. Coincidentally, this month’s The Lantern Project meeting was focussed on oral health and the implications […]

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Is your meal service digitally prepared for the millennials workforce?

A weekend visit to the Digital Futures Lab at the State Library of Queensland reminded me that in 3 years time – 2020 – 50% of the global workforce will be millennials. This will rise to 75% by 2025. Technology dominates every aspect of millennials lives. They will want EaaA (Everything as an App) and to have their smartphone at hand every minute of their working day as […]

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