Like with all businesses, there are good aged care centres and there are poor aged care centres
I have the experience of working for and also utilising the services of an aged care centre, and it gives me a different perspective to most.
I am very fortunate in that I do work with an excellent aged care centre, so much so that my father was a resident there for a while before he passed. The staff are caring and attentive, the food is tasty and suitable for older people and there is a very extensive activity program – including an annual beach holiday.
There are horrific stories about abuse and photos on Facebook of food which many claim is poor. There are also many like me who are saying loudly that the brush should not be used to tar all centres.
As it is such a hot button issue, we all know that the government is setting up a Royal Commission to investigate the aged care industry as a whole and review the current standards which all centres must meet.
One of the big issues in aged care is texture modification, and which resident needs it and if so at what level is it needed.
Currently there are different levels for food and for drink and a single resident may be able to swallow a 400 drink whilst at the same time have their meat at a minced and moist and their vegetable soft. In other words, the staff have got to be aware of the individual needs of each specific resident and then ensure that is available to that resident. It can get very confusing with multiple texture modifications often being given to the same resident, depending upon their swallowing / choking.
In May 2019 Australian aged care and child care centres will need to have implemented the new international 0 to 7 texture modification system, which will be easier to remember and use than the current system. However it will not change the fact that it is people who will be preparing and serving these foods and drinks, who need to make them appealing.
Choking is now one of the major causes of death in aged care centres, so getting the texture modification right is a matter of life and death.It is not only the texture of the food / drink being given to residents which impacts on whether choking occurs, it is the supervision of that resident whilst they are consuming that material.