Food and dining are important in aged care, as they affect your health, wellbeing and quality of life.
The food and dining experience offered by your aged care provider should be safe, enjoyable, respectful and based on what you like.
We are here to support you with information and advice. If you would like to discuss your food, nutrition and dining experience in aged care, including raising a concern or complaint, you can contact us via our new Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline.
The Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline – 1800 844 044
People receiving aged care and their representatives can call us on our Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline with enquiries, questions, concerns and complaints about their food, nutrition and dining experience.
When you contact the Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline with questions, enquiries or concerns we will:
- listen to you to understand your enquiry, question or concern
- give you information relevant to your enquiry, question or concern
- support you to know your rights and responsibilities
- support you to raise a formal complaint with the Commission if you wish
If you’re calling with a question or enquiry about food, nutrition or dining, staff answering calls to the hotline will work with the Commission’s new Food, Nutrition and Dining Advisory Support Unit’s dietitians and speech pathologists to provide you with relevant information.
If you’re calling about a concern or complaints matter, you will have access to the Commission’s existing complaints pathway. Our friendly Complaints Officers will also work closely with the Food, Nutrition and Dining Advisory Support Unit to assist you with your concern or complaint.
The Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline is available on 1800 844 044 Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm AEDT.
More information on accessing the hotline and what to expect when you contact us can be found in our fact sheet ‘Do you have questions, concerns or complaints about your food, nutrition and dining in aged care?’
Food, Nutrition and Dining Resources
The Commission’s food, nutrition and dining resources aim to help you enjoy food and dining in aged care.
Your provider and their staff will have access to similar information.
Eating food that you enjoy is essential for your health and wellbeing.
The food and dining experience your aged care provider gives you should be:
- based on what you like.
Watch our video about what to expect from your food and dining experience in aged care.
- Your choices matter fact sheet
- Enjoying dining fact sheet
- Food and dining preferences sheet
- Your dining experience poster
Your right to choose
You have the right to make choices about your life in residential aged care. This includes what you eat and drink. It also includes choosing to take informed risks if they help you to enjoy mealtimes.
You can choose*:
- when and where to eat
- who you eat with
- what you eat and drink
- how much you eat and drink
- how you eat and drink.
You can also choose what you eat and drink, even if you understand it's risky. Your care team must:
- give you information about the risks
- respect and support your choices.
If your choice is a risk to others, your care team will help you find an option that works for everyone. You can also change your mind anytime.
- Your right to make choices about food, drink and your experience in residential aged care – resident poster
- Food and drink in your aged care home – resident poster
- Making choices about your food, drink and dining experience – resident fact sheet
* Food choices must be within reason and reasonably practical for the provider to deliver.
What you can do
Set your food and dining preferences
Your care team can work with you to make your dining experience more enjoyable.
- work with you to understand your likes and dislikes
- check to see if your likes and dislikes have changed
- provide dining options to support your likes and dislikes.
Download our Enjoying dining in aged care fact sheet to find out how to make your dining experience enjoyable.
You can also use our Food and dining preference template to help your care team easily understand your food and dining preferences.
Work with your care team
Your care team should help you make informed choices about your food and nutrition plan. You can work with them to plan your meals and dining experience. This includes:
- giving feedback after a meal
- contributing to a resident food committee
- helping design the dining room setup
- joining food tastings
- helping to design the menu.
It has more information about working with your care team.
If you have swallowing difficulties, your care team can work with you to change the texture of your food and drink.
Depending on your needs, they may organise:
- personalised swallowing exercises with a speech pathologist
- mealtime assistance plans
- changes to your food and drink to make it easier to swallow
- smaller meals more often
- nutritional strategies and support
- supervision and support to help you eat and drink.
Read our Nutrition and texture-modified food and drinks fact sheet for more details.
For more on how your care team can support you, read the following fact sheets:
- Informed choice and supported decision-making
- Supporting safe and enjoyable mealtimes for people with swallowing difficulties.
The health of your mouth and teeth can affect your wellbeing and quality of life, including your dining experience.
Read our factsheets to learn more about:
- Why and how you can look after oral health
- How you can assess oral health.
- Caring for your oral health resident poster
If you need support for oral health, talk to your care team first. Contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network to raise your concerns if your provider isn't helpful.
You can also contact us anytime for help and advice.
Colouring, conversation, creativity and care
Creative activities and colouring resources for older people and their caregivers
These colouring and creativity resources have been designed specifically for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission with the intention of providing a multifaceted creative experience for older Australians living in residential or home aged care settings, and for the people who care for them.
If you have concerns about your food and nutrition, raise them with your provider first. However, you can contact us if you feel uncomfortable talking to your provider.
- speak to your provider for you
- make sure your provider understands their responsibilities
- help your provider agree to a plan of action that meets your expectations
- check back with you to find out if things have improved.
Read our Your choice matters fact sheet for more on how we can help.