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Dietitian appointment to bring nutrition expertise and best-practice to advisory council

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A diet expert has been appointed to the body overseeing aged care quality amid a debate over the standard of food for residents.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Advisory Council has appointed Julie Dundon from Dietitians Australia to implement malnutrition screening and food audits.

The move comes as the Labor Party promises mandatory nutrition standards in aged care to improve food for residents, if elected.

Dundon will assist the council in implementing mandatory malnutrition screening and annual food audits as a condition of aged care homes receiving the Federal Government’s $10 basic daily fee supplement.

“Julie has been a fierce advocate and tenacious champion for improved nutrition in aged care,” Dietitians Australia CEO Robert Hunt said in a statement.

“Her appointment to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Advisory Council will bring deep expertise in the best-practice and evidence-based nutrition in aged care,” he said.

The aged care royal commission found cases of horrendous neglect and abuse, with over half of aged care residents not getting the nutrition they need.

Hunt said malnutrition has been a silent abuser for years.

“In residential aged care, Australian studies have identified a prevalence of malnutrition up to 50 per cent,” Hunt said.

“There are off-the-shelf malnutrition screening tools which are cost effective and can be done by the existing team in aged care homes and take just a few minutes.”

Dietitians Australia has also been receiving reports of the $10 basic daily fee supplements not going to aged care residents’ food.

“It was no surprise to us that one in three residential aged care homes continue to spend less than $10 per day on food, despite receiving the basic daily fee supplement,” Hunt said.

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