Malnutrition affects at least one in two residents in Australian residential aged care facilities (RACF) according to a recent health services evaluation, What does it cost to feed aged care residents in Australia?
Co-authored by Cherie Hugo, Elisabeth Isenring, David Sinclair and Ekta Agarwal, the study reported on the average food expenditure and trends in Australian RACFs by collecting economic outlay data through a quarterly online survey in the 2015–2016 financial years.
The research extended across Australia. In Victoria, the survey was completed by 84 RACFs, representing 6,635 beds.
The national research found that on a per resident basis, RACFs are currently spending nearly 1.4 times less than the current food budget for prisoners and nearly three times less than the Australian average of older adults living in the community.
The research noted that malnutrition results in an increased risk of falls, pressure injuries and hospital admissions.
The authors concluded that the current spend on food in RACFs has decreased compared with previous years, reflecting an increasing reliance on supplements, and that this spend was significantly less than the current community food spend.