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Fairview Nursing Home menu gets high praise from fourth-year dietetic students

FOR the last four weeks, Moree has had three extra residents enjoying the work and social lifestyle the town has to offer.

Rachel Titill, Claire Jones and Nicholas Maher are fourth-year nutrition and dietetic students from the University of Newcastle and are currently completing a foodservice placement under the supervision of Moree dietician, Pollyemma Antees.

“This is a compulsive placement to pass in order to become a qualified Dietitian and over 16 weeks of practical study is required over the four years of the degree,” Mrs Antees said.

The placement was based at Fairview Retirement Village in Moree, with the goal to assess the menu and ensure that local residents are provided with enjoyable tasty nutritional meals.

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From left: Fairview Nursing Home CEO Brett Athur, Moree dietician Pollyemma Antees, catering supervisor Sally McGrath, students Claire Jones, Rachel Titill, DOC Jenny Baker, deputy DOC Sophia Looker, deputy DOC and at front, student Nicholas Maher.

“Over the four weeks the students made lengthy observations in the kitchen, talked to foodservice staff, nurses, residents and local suppliers of meat, fruit and vegetables in order to develop a list of recommendations to improve the service,” Mrs Antees said.

“Overall, the final report was full of high praises on the quality of the menu, with a small list of recommendations to ensure the high standard continues.”

Mrs Antees said that aged care in Australia, and the rest of the world, has a high prevalence of malnutrition.

“Malnutrition increases the risk of fractures, poor wound healing and decreased quality of life,” she said.

Malnutrition occurs when insufficient kilojoules are consumed, thus muscle wasting and weakness occurs, Mrs Antees said.

“Reasons for malnutrition can be due to illness, decreased appetite, and decreased strength to maintain muscle for chewing and swallowing,” she said.

“Residents on textured-modified food have a higher risk of malnutrition. Textured-modified food is when the consistency of the food is modified to make it easier to swallow.

“A speech pathologist conducts a swallowing assessment to determine the safe consistency to reduce the risk of choking or aspiration. Aspiration is when food or fluid enters the lungs and can cause pneumonia,” she said.

In order to address this issue at Fairview Nursing Home, a thorough analysis of the textured- modified menu was conducted with a list of recipes to improve the menu and increase protein and energy – two food groups that are important for weight gain and muscle.

“The students also wrote of list of future student placements and are going back to Newcastle to inform next year’s students what a wonderful placement opportunity Moree is,” Mrs Antees said.

“Rachel, Claire and Nicholas enjoyed their stay in Moree, especially visiting the hot pools, the weekend nightlife and the local rugby.”

Mrs Antees has been providing placement opportunities for students in Moree and western NSW for more than 13 years and says she loves showing future dietitians what a fantastic opportunity a career in rural health can be.

For more information on dietary needs and nutrition contact Mrs Antees at North West Nutrition on 6752 4453, email her at [email protected] or visit the website www.northwestnutrition.com.au. You will also find her at shop 8 in the Linden Arcade, 95 Balo Street.