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Ensuring Safe and Enjoyable Mealtimes For Your Clients

At Careseekers, we understand the critical importance of mealtime management for disability support and aged care clients who face difficulties with eating, drinking, or swallowing. As a care and support worker, your role in implementing mealtime management plans is vital to the health and well-being of these individuals. Here's what you need to know about our Mealtime Management Policy and Procedure and how to effectively support your clients during mealtimes.

Understanding the Risks

Disability support and aged care clients who have difficulty eating face several health risks, including choking, respiratory issues, heartburn, and weight loss. Additionally, their sense of well-being and control can be compromised if their mealtime preferences are not considered. Recognising these risks is the first step in providing effective support.

Careseekers Policy
Careseekers is committed to ensuring that care and support workers understand the risks associated with eating difficulties and respect the rights of individuals to exercise choice and control over their mealtime support. We recognise that addressing eating difficulties requires input from qualified health practitioners and the valuable insights of individuals and their carers.

Developing Mealtime Management Plans
1. Identification and Assessment:
During the intake assessment process, Careseekers will identify individuals who require mealtime management. This involves gathering detailed information about their mealtime needs, preferences, and any existing health risks.

2. Creating a Best Practice Plan:
A comprehensive mealtime management plan includes:

  • Assessment of swallowing and postural requirements
  • Dietary and nutritional advice
  • Recommendations on food types and preparation techniques
  • Suitable delivery equipment
  • Environmental considerations (noise, light, etc.)
  • Impact of medications on eating
  • Guidance for identifying and managing mealtime incidents and emergencies
  • Strategies for managing chronic health risks
  • Regular review dates and triggers for more frequent assessments

Implementing the Plans
Accessibility and Adherence:

Care and support workers will have easy access to the mealtime management plan and must adhere to it at all stages of the mealtime process. This includes preparing meals according to the plan, maintaining hygienic standards, and ensuring that meals are stored and delivered appropriately.

Monitoring and Feedback:
During mealtimes, monitor the client closely for any signs of distress or discomfort. Regularly seek feedback to ensure the client is satisfied with the meals and the overall management plan.

Understanding Individual Needs:
Care and support workers must be knowledgeable about the individual needs and preferences of their clients and follow the advice and recommendations of the health practitioners who developed the mealtime management plan.

Emergency Responses
Care and support workers should be familiar with emergency responses and incident management processes related to mealtime incidents, such as choking or allergic reactions. This knowledge is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of participants during mealtimes.

By understanding and implementing Careseekers' Mealtime Management Policy and Procedure, you play a pivotal role in ensuring that your clients receive safe, respectful, and enjoyable mealtime support. Your commitment to following these guidelines helps maintain the health and well-being of those you provide services for.

To become a care or support worker, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/carer

To find disability support services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/disability-support-workers

To find aged care services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/aged-care-workers

To make a referral, please visit https://www.careseekers.com.au/referrals