Standard 4 - Requirement (3) (f)
Where meals are provided, they are varied and of suitable quality and quantity.
Intent of this requirement
The intention of this requirement is to make sure that consumers have enough nutrition and hydration to maintain life and good health and reduce the risks of malnutrition and dehydration. Meals and the dining experience are a very significant part of day-to-day life They play an important role in connecting consumers socially and supporting a sense of belonging.
This requirement applies when an organisation provides the nutritional or hydration needs of a consumer as part of their care or services. Where it’s part of their role, organisations are expected to make sure that consumers have enough to eat and drink to meet their nutrition and hydration needs and to provide consumers with the support they need to eat and drink.
This is expected to be based on assessed needs and address:
- what is needed to sustain life and support ongoing good health
- any dietary intolerances, allergies or medication contraindications
- the level of support or help the consumer needs
- consumer’s preferences, and religious and cultural considerations
- timing of meals.
It’s expected that organisations monitor nutritional and hydration intake to prevent dehydration, weight loss or weight gain.
Food can be a powerful social symbol for connecting consumers with moods, emotions and rituals related to their identity. Mealtime habits built over time can inspire feelings of comfort and familiarity for consumers. This is why it’s important for an organisation to take into account a consumer’s preferences, religious and cultural backgrounds when providing food and drinks or hosting meals.
- How does the organisation make sure nutrition and hydration needs are met? How does the organisation make sure these needs are reviewed? Does the provision of meals and drinks recognise any risks relating to a consumer’s nutritional and hydration status?
- How is the workforce supported to know when a referral for specialist nutritional advice is needed? How is this advice accessed and how does the organisation make sure it is followed?
- How does the organisation optimise the benefits of mealtimes? This can include the atmosphere, interpersonal and social aspects of the dining experience.
- How does the organisation involve the consumer in menu planning or food preparation? How does the organisation know it’s meeting the consumer’s medical, cultural, religious or other meal needs?
- How does the organisation make sure the presentation of each meal, such as its texture, flavour, smell and appearance, support good appetite and good food consumption?
Examples of actions and evidence
- Consumers say they can choose from suitable and healthy meals, snacks and drinks. They can also take part in planning their menu.
- Consumers say that the organisation consistently provides their meal and drink preferences and menu selections. They say the menu also meets their medical, cultural, religious or other needs.
- Consumers feel their dining experience is comfortable and not rushed. They also feel that any help they need to eat and drink is readily available and provided in a dignified way.
- Consumers are satisfied that they receive, or are helped to prepare, a variety of well proportioned, quality meals. They say the dining experience supports their quality of life.
- Consumers say if they are hungry or thirsty a member of the workforce will get them something to eat or drink.
- Observations that food and drink is put within the reach of consumers and given in a way that the consumer can eat and drink, such as finger food, cut up or modified meals or thickened drinks, where appropriate.
Workforce and others
- The workforce can describe how they create an engaging mealtime experience that encourages consumers to eat and drink.
- The workforce can describe how they assess food and drinks outside of normal catering hours.
- Members of the workforce can describe how they make sure that meals vary and are of suitable quality and quantity.
- The workforce can demonstrate that they know consumers’ nutrition and hydration needs and preferences and how to support consumers’ independence. This includes preferred meal size, dietary or cultural needs and any support they need to prepare food or drinks.
- The workforce can describe when specialist nutritional advice is required and how to access it.
- The workforce know how to report any changes to a consumer’s appetite or eating habits, or concerns about weight loss or dehydration.
- The workforce can describe how to make any changes to meals or drinks the consumer requests and say that changes are made in a timely manner.
- Workforce orientation, training or other records that show how the organisation supported the workforce to meet this requirement.
- Evidence of processes in place to plan and deliver nutrition and hydration in line with consumers’ needs and preferences.
- Evidence of how a range of consumers are consulted in developing menus. This makes sure that the menu includes varied meals and reflects the diversity of consumers.
- Systems that demonstrate ordering, storing and preparation of food and drinks occurs in a way that maintains their freshness and quality.
- Evidence of an individual and flexible approach to preparing and delivering meals and for vulnerable consumers. This includes consumers living with dementia or receiving palliative care.
- Records reflect menus have been reviewed for nutritional balance.
- Records confirm food safety and any other legislative requirements are met.