Can a new malnutrition model of care significantly contribute to reduced length of stay, increased independence and improved resident & staff satisfaction within aged care?

Ms Liz  Purcell1

1Oscar Hospitality, Bulimba, Australia


Malnutrition is a major public health issue in Australia, going unrecognized and untreated. Australia’s rapidly ageing population is most ‘at risk’.  Malnutrition is a complex clinical condition resulting in, functional decline, increased dependence, increased institutional lengths of stay and subsequent health care costs.  Yet, a fundamental lack of awareness of Malnutrition and its devastating implications, exists in our aged care facilities.  Its complex nature, requires a multifaceted person-centered approach.  Australian and UK policies support its identification through screening.  This coupled with innovative tools and activities to optimize nutrition therapy can achieve significant benefits, especially if partnered with motivated, interested and innovative hospitality, clinical and care staff



The dietitian:

  • Establishes a Working party to advocate for a holistic approach to improved nutrition & disseminate key nutrition messages up and down the continuum of care.
  • Identifies Nutrition Champions at each facility, who will be trained to screen each resident and lead small nutrition projects & incentives
  • Delivers interactive Nutrition Workshops
  • Introduces mandatory nutrition screening for earlier detection
  • Establishes reward based incentives for care staff to celebrate achievements



             Retrospective & prospective audits: % wounds, falls, hospital admissions & length of stay (LOS).

             Prospectively: MNA results on all residents

             Staff satisfaction survey



Results based on data over a 12 month period.

Interim results @ 6 months indicate:

* 15% reduction in falls

* 17% reduction in hospital admissions

* Average LOS down by 0.5 days

Extremely high staff satisfaction rating



A successful project will demonstrate strategic planning and intervention for client assessment and treatment, while providing significant cost-savings, through a reduction in functional decline, increased independence and shorter lengths of stay.  It is also predicted that client and staff satisfaction will improve through better education, expanded roles and innovative models of care.