October’s #TheLanternProject attendees had the privilege of listening to Australian Aged Care Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan explaining the significance of the new Quality Standard 1 – Consumer Dignity and Choice and its impact on meals and the dining experience (Standard 4) in aged care.
Nick explained that the current standards are 20 years old, and were predominantly discussions between government and providers. The consumers were not central to the conversation.
The new standards, which come into effect from 1 July 2019 will have the consumer at the heart and soul. The purpose of aged care will be for consumers to live life what and how they would like to live.
From next July, audits will start with care recipient interviews and whether there is a consistent consumer experience (CX). Auditors will test results out with Providers and Staff. When it comes to food and the meals, this may include whether the care recipient can live their life (dignity and choice), quality of interactions at meal time, meal choice, their experience. Providers will still need to get the food right, but the focus will be on the lived experience of the consumers (eg residential and community).
Aged care is no different to any other business who must understand their customer and be agile around the CX.
Nick believes the next wave of aged care reform will be around nutrition, food, the dining experience. We must come together as a community to learn grow, research, practice, advocate and provide insights. (He sees the role of The Lantern Project becoming increasingly important and of immense value).
Attendees raised the issue of food safety reality with Nick, and variance between Auditors, and overlap of roles between Accreditation Auditors (State) and Food Safety Auditors (Federal).
The Lantern Project is working on the issue to come up with some guidance resources for Providers and Auditors as well as representing providers in working parties to deal with the increasing complexities of choice, regulatory compliance, safety, risk and outcomes when it comes to food, nutrition and the dining experience in aged care.
We welcome your input.