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Our Blog

We know a thing or two about healthcare and have a national team of therapists who frequently provide educational training on common and unique topics. Check out some of our popular blogs below and get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more.

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Sip and Swallow: Every Mouthful Matters – Plena Dietetics and Speech Pathology Workshop

March 2024 will see the return of our highly valued Dietetic and Speech Pathology in person workshops 'Sip and Swallow: Every Mouthful Matters' across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.   These workshops are suitable for those working across care, clinical, catering and quality, with a focus on:  Improving nutrition through a food first approach  Avoiding unplanned ...

Manual Handling Training Services for Community Care & Support Workers

Did you know, Manual Handling training is a requirement for professionals working in the care industry?    Manual Handling Training should be provided to care staff during their onboarding and repeated annually to ensure the long-term safety of staff and consumers.  Plena Healthcare can provide tailored training solutions designed for the unique needs of care and ...

Enhancing Quality of Life: Addressing Dysphagia with Professional Speech Pathology Support

Did you know that up to 22% of adults aged 50 and above living in the community* and more than 60% of individuals residing in aged care facilities face the challenge of dysphagia**?    Recognising the prevalence of dysphagia in aged and home community care underscores the crucial need for widespread awareness regarding its identification ...

Nutrition in Aged Care – Why a dietitians input is essential

The focus on food and nutrition for aging people is increasing, with more transparency and accountability required of aged care providers. As part of the Aged Care Strengthened Quality Standards, providers will need to work with Accredited Practicing Dietitians to develop and have each aged care facility menu reviewed at least annually.   Understanding nutritional ...

The Imperative for Inclusion: Allied Health Services in Australian Aged Care

Australia's aged care industry is currently undergoing a period of profound transformation and reform. This transformation is driven in large part by the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Among the critical issues highlighted by the Royal Commission, one key aspect that cannot be overlooked is the need ...

Shining a light on stronger bones: National Osteoporosis Day 2023

Shining a light on stronger bones: National Osteoporosis Day 2023 On National Osteoporosis Day, we’re heading into the world of bone health. Recent statistics reveal that over 2.2 million Australians aged 50 and over are affected by Osteoporosis. The good news is there are experts in the field of nutrition who can help combat this ...

Your psychosocial health is important to us

Your safety is important to us When we think of safety in the workplace, we often think about things like minimising the risk of injury through unsafe work practices, equipment or accidents. But a lesser understood component of workplace safety is psychosocial safety. Many hazards in the workplace can impact your psychosocial health, which is ...

How Plena supports our client’s mental health

We’ve come a long way in the understanding and treatment of mental health and have been discovering the best ways to support those living with different conditions. But there’s always more we can do to continue to educate ourselves on each condition and how to best work with our clients. Mental illness is a general ...

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common systemic complication of diabetes, affecting up to 25% of all diabetics (132 million people worldwide). Diabetic neuropathy is implicated in upwards of 75% of non-traumatic amputations yearly. Peripheral neuropathy is thought to be caused by damage to nerves and their blood supply and lead to a lack of protective ...

Dietetics and diabetes management

Dietitians assist in many ways with diabetes management including assessing diet quality, alongside medical management of diabetes, making recommendations and monitoring effects. The evidence-based approach however in long-term care environments, may differ to what many people think. Several relevant organisations and research bodies agree that for clients in long-term care, restricting diet is unnecessary and ...

Ageing: How Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists work together to prevent falls

Falls prevention and retraining are crucial components of promoting the health, wellbeing, and independence of ageing Australians. With the guidance and expertise of Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, individuals can regain confidence, improve their physical abilities, and create safe environments that support their mobility and independence. For many seniors, it’s hard to remember a time when ...

Parkinson’s disease – how Speech Pathologists manage communication and swallowing difficulties

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects 150,000 people in Australia (source: https://shakeitup.org.au/understanding-parkinsons/). It is characterised by a wide range of motor symptoms, including tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement and postural instability. In addition to these well-known symptoms, Parkinson's disease can also have a significant impact on speech and communication abilities. This is ...

Tips for managing Oedema

The feet, ankles and legs are often the most common parts of the body most heavily affected by oedema. Oedema can be caused by a range of things, and treatment for the condition can involve a combination of supports. Therefore what works for one person, may not work for another. This can be frustrating for ...

Nephrology: Managing Oedema with Podiatry

Many would be forgiven for assuming that podiatry and nephrology are not closely related. After all, geographically, the feet are a long way from the kidneys. However Podiatrists play an important role in the early detection of kidney problems, assist in the management of some symptoms of kidney disease, and provide ongoing care for those ...

Physiotherapists’ and Occupational Therapists’ role in stroke rehabilitation

Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists (PTs and OTs) play an important role in stroke rehabilitation, through early and tailored interventions, and by supporting the individual to set and achieve relevant and functional goals for their rehabilitation. Stroke, also known as a cardiovascular accident (CVA) can be a life-altering event that affects just under 40,000 Australians per ...

Managing Coeliac Disease – Nutrition Education for Clinical & Food Service Staff

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes a person’s immune system to abnormally react to gluten ingestion. Gluten is a protein found in many products containing wheat, rye, barley and oats. For someone without coeliac disease, gluten does not cause any negative effects. However, for those with the disease, even a very small amount ...

How Plena’s dietetics and menu reviews can help those who live in residential aged care to manage their diabetes

Plena Healthcare Dietitians offers dietetics and menu reviews within residential aged care, to support residents in maintaining adequate nutrition, and supporting the facilities themselves to offer balanced menus.   Aged care menus are an important focus for dietitians as they provide a foundation for good nutrition and improve food enjoyment and quality of life for residents. ...

A Guide to A Career in Occupational Therapy: What You Need to Know

Occupational therapy is a rewarding and exciting career option for those who want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people. As an Occupational Therapist in the aged care sector, you will use specialised skills in physical, psychological, and social interventions to help people improve their lives. From learning about the profession itself ...

What Is Speech Pathology and How Can It Help You Improve Your Communication?

Speech Pathologists work with people of all ages and backgrounds to help them improve their communication skills. They are vital to the holistic health care of senior Australians. Speech pathology can be a valuable asset in helping someone gain control over their communication abilities and swallowing skills after a stroke, surgery, or assist with conditions ...

4 Common Misconceptions About Physiotherapy: What You Need to Know

Physiotherapy is a well-known form of therapeutic treatment that helps people recover from or manage pain and physical injuries. While it is becoming increasingly popular, there are still many common misconceptions about Physiotherapy. Physiotherapists are a key part of care in home care and residential aged care environments. Plena’s Physiotherapists come to you and can ...

Allied Health Career Fact Sheet – What are Your Options?

Allied health care is provided by trained professionals who have acquired qualifications. Identifying, assessing, and treating medical issues is a basic part of allied health care services.  Through these actions the professionals ensure recovery, reablement, and of course, acquisition of skills. These individuals provide a vast range of diagnostic, therapeutic, technical, and direct health services.  There ...

How to Set Yourself Apart as an Allied Health Professional

How to Set Yourself Apart as an Allied Health Professional Building a successful career as an Allied Health professional requires you to have certain skills and an ability to build rapport with your clients and coworkers. To set yourself apart within the competitive industry, you have to think smart. 5 Ways to Set Yourself Apart ...

From The Ground Up – How Podiatrists Work With Individuals With Dementia

Dementia and podiatry can be a complex combination. It may not be the first thing you think about, but did you know that podiatry is an extremely important part of dementia care? People with dementia can be prone to loss of sensitivity and padding in their feet and can also be affected by collapsed arches ...

Thirst Things First: Dehydration

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. Dehydration is common in the elderly for a number of reasons including: Decreased ability to recognise thirst Forgetting to drink Increased urination Reduced ability to self hydrate Lower body water content Difficulty swallowing Dehydration can lead to serious ...

The Thing About Finger Foods

Meeting the nutritional needs of the elderly can be a challenge due to a variety of reasons. These may include decreased appetite and/or ability to recognise hunger, difficulty chewing or swallowing, early satiety and decreased ability to see, smell and taste food. One way to address these challenges is to offer a variety of finger ...

Custom Orthotics – Biomechanical Assessment and Fitting

Plena Healthcare offers biomechanical assessments and custom orthotic prescriptions in partnership with Paromed, all within the comfort of your own home or residential aged care facility. What are Orthotics? Orthotics (or orthoses) is a term for an externally applied device that is inserted into your shoe. It is used to treat numerous foot conditions, foot ...

The Expansion Of The National Quality Indicator Program (NQIP) And What It Means

If you’re a residential aged care provider, you know that meeting the requirements of ACQS and NQIP are important to not only ensure high quality services to your residents, but as a mechanism to effectively communicate why prospective residents should make you their preferred provider. If you’re a consumer, you want to clearly understand the ...

The Evolution Of The Plena Care Pathway: Based On Clinical Evidence And Consumer Experience

The Plena Care Pathway is a significant innovation in the way that allied health services are delivered to ageing Australians living within residential aged care facilities. While the pathway was developed to address allied health service delivery under the new AN-ACC funding model (in place from 1 October 2022), it is deeply rooted in and ...

Meet Christy Lam, Occupational Therapist

Christy Lam is an Occupational Therapist who has been working within residential aged care since 2020, joining Plena via the graduate program in that year. Christy has a special interest in supporting ageing Australians to manage their activities of daily living (ADLs), supporting with equipment prescription, and providing education and training to care staff to ...

What are the benefits of the Plena Care Pathway?

The Plena Care Pathway is Plena Healthcare’s industry leading service model for supporting consumers with access to tailored allied health services, through their entire residential aged care journey. As the largest provider of allied health services into residential aged care facilities in Australia, the Plena Care Pathway was developed in response to the new AN-ACC ...

No Pain, No Grain: Meeting Grain Requirements In Texture Modified Diets

Menu reviews are a useful tool for identifying both areas of excellence and areas of improvement within an aged care menu. One of the most common findings from menu reviews is that serves of grains are often below recommendations in texture modified diets. This is due to the omission of sliced bread and toast which ...

What are therapy services and how do they contribute to improved quality of life for senior Australians?

Plena Healthcare’s Plena Care Pathway provides an innovative service model supporting consumers through their entire residential aged care journey, and is designed to address the new AN-ACC funding model. What is unique about the Plena Care Pathway, is the Therapy Service component, known as the Restorative Phase, which aims to optimise and maintain function and ...

Plena Care Pathway – Supporting Access To Allied Healthcare Throughout A Resident’s Entire Aged Care Journey

Plena Healthcare’s Plena Care Pathway is an innovative service model that supports a resident through their entire residential aged care journey. The Plena Care Pathway is a sustainable model that supports providers to ensure residents have access to allied health care through an efficient and agile service model meeting the requirements of the new funding ...

The Role Of Occupational Therapy In Dementia Care

There's lots of misunderstanding about dementia. Dementia is commonly misunderstood as one disease, but dementia is not one specific disease, it is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour, memory, orientation, and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with ...

Victor Yao And The Success Of The Plena Care Pathway Pilot Program

Victor Yao is a Physiotherapist with over 15 years’ experience working in Residential Aged Care. He is passionate about working with senior Australians, supporting them with slow-stream rehab and has a special interest in supporting clients living with hemiplegia. Victor enjoys learning new clinical skills, and exploring new technology and equipment that will meet his ...

What is AN-ACC And What Does It Mean For Allied Health Services In Residential Aged Care?

AN-ACC (Australian National Aged Care Classification) is the new funding model for Residential Aged Care providers in Australia. AN-ACC is designed to provide more equitable care funding to providers that better matches the costs of delivering care and the needs of residents. As part of the new model, providers are required under legislation to make ...

Mental Health, The Ageing Australian Population, And How Occupational Therapy Can Help

Have you ever thought about putting off your daily walk, but ended up feeling great after? That's because moving your body can lower stress levels, boost endorphins, and increase overall energy. Almost 1 in 2 (46%) of Australians between 16 – 85 years old will experience a mental health disorder at some stage in their ...

An Unexpected Ally – How Dietetics Supports Parkinson’s Disease

When you think about treatments for Parkinson’s disease you probably think about physiotherapy and medications first. While both are incredibly important in managing Parkinson's, an unexpected ally in helping fight the effects of the disease is dietetics. People living with neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, can be particularly vulnerable to nutritional deficits, resulting in malnutrition, ...

Your nutrition guide for a COVID outbreak

In 2022 it looks like COVID is here to stay. The upside of this is that we now have a better understanding of COVID and can be better equipped to manage it. Nutrition plays a key role in our overall health, as well as our recovery from illness. The elderly, especially those in aged care ...

What-Sup?: Oral Nutrition Supplement Reviews

Oral nutrition supplements are often recommended by dietitians and GPs when a resident is unable to meet their nutrition requirements through diet alone. There are many reasons why this can occur including poor appetite, difficulty chewing/swallowing, early satiety, disrupted sleep routine, wounds and hospitalisation. They can help meet requirements by providing extra protein, energy, vitamins ...

Gut Feelings: How to regulate bowels

Bowels can be an unpleasant topic to discuss, but it can be even more unpleasant when they don’t work how we want them to! As we age, our bowels lose muscle tone which can make having an effective bowel motion a challenge! This can lead to embarrassment, discomfort, decreased quality of life and even hospitalisation. ...

No time to weight: Malnutrition risk factors

Malnutrition week runs from the 4th-8th of October with the theme “Malnutrition is everybody’s business”.  A truer statement has never been said! Malnutrition impacts more than just the individual, it can impact their family, the aged care facility and the healthcare system. It is therefore everyone’s responsibility to recognise the risk factors for malnutrition and ...

Menu Review Tool Updates

Nutrition Matters July 2021 As we all know, food and dining experience is a huge part of clients' experience in aged care, and also a key focus of the Royal Commission. The dietetics team at Plena Healthcare works with its RAC customers to ensure menus tick all the boxes. Having a great menu that nourishes ...

Five Factors to Avoid with Meal Assistance

Aside from providing a nutritious meal, meal assistance can be a significant influence on whether a resident receives the nutrition they need. There are a number of possible communication practices and physical techniques that are considered when giving meal assistance but there are also some things to avoid. Read on to discover five things to ...

Your SIRS Nutrition Checklist from a Plena Healthcare Dietitian

You might have heard about Serious Incident Reporting Scheme (SIRS) being rolled out by the Aged Care Quality Commission recently. Maybe you are wondering what it means for your home and what kind of nutrition related incidents are reportable (or not reportable). This month, we provide a deep dive into this topic and some practical ...

Resident not eating? Check your dining room

There is no doubt meal times are important. For most residents, a facility’s menu provides 100% of their daily food intake. Many residents look forward to meals as an opportunity to make some of their own decisions (such as what and how much to eat) and get pleasure from social interaction with other residents and ...

How To Prepare For A New Resident With Tube Feeding

We get many questions from our aged care homes on how to prepare for a new resident with a tube feed. So we’ve come up with a check list of all the things that need to be considered for a smooth admission for your home and your resident. Type of Tube Is it a PEG, ...

Best Ways to Boost Appetite through Food, According to a Dietitian

You may have observed residents in your facility losing weight when they lose their appetite. When one of your residents is eating less than usual and losing weight, they are at risk of developing nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition. A resident may experience loss of appetite due to: Loss of taste and smell as they age ...

Telehealth Nutrition Consults Are As Effective As In-Person Consults, Research Shows

COVID-19 shouldn’t keep clients from maintaining their nutritional health. After all, nutrition is a key pillar of general health and wellbeing. But how can you achieve this when there are visitor restrictions? Enter Dietitian Link, our telehealth service. This allows your clients to continue receiving care from a dietitian, whenever they need. We also remove …

Mealtime Experience During COVID-19

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted the way that our aged care homes operate in Australia. Our dietitians have observed numerous homes step up to the plate and modify their dining rooms to provide safe dining experiences for their residents. Some homes are no longer using their dining rooms, while others are implementing ...

Are you doing 4 nutrition care tips to heal wounds?

Nutrition forms part of the wound healing puzzle. If a resident isn’t getting good nutrition, their wounds will not heal as quickly as they could be. With pressure injuries part of the National Quality Indicators, it is all the more important to do everything in your power to help prevent and heal them. Even if ...

Busting the Myths around Back Pain in Physiotherapy

If you experience lower back pain, you are not alone. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. Men and women are equally affected by low back pain, which can range in ...

Ideas of Fine-tuning your podiatry future factor

For recent graduates, the idea of choosing your podiatry career can be a daunting task. There’s a lot of factors to consider. Do you prefer a better work-life balance, earlier starts, rewarding relationships, or the security of knowing a paycheck’s in the mail? While we can’t predict everything that’ll happen with the path you do ...

Podiatrist on the maternity leave work-life?

Here’s how i got my family and work-life balance right. A few years ago I made the decision to move into aged care podiatry because I knew I’d be a Mum one day and it’s such a flexible job, I thought it would be a great career move for someone who was planning a family. I started ...

isometric v eccentric exercises for tendinopathy

Is it time to farewell Alfredson's eccentric foot drop? Being invited to contribute to our website resources by writing a blog for the company was a great opportunity. It has caused me to review both the current robust debates/discussions regarding podiatry practice and the many areas of research currently being undertaken in our field to ...

Building an effective relationship with podiatrist

Good working relationships are instrumental in any successful organisation and bring with them a myriad of benefits. They not only improve morale, retention rates and productivity but are also proven to reduce stress, increase happiness, result in fewer health problems and help you live longer. Now there’s a reason to give the person next to ...

The benefits of diversion therapy in Podiatry

Diversion therapy is widely utilised in Alzheimer’s to engage residents, promote cognitive control and thereby minimise disruptive behaviour. Alzheimer’s is a life-changing disease that progressively impacts cognition, behaviour and motor functioning. With Alzheimer’s being widely prevalent in aged care, this means that there is often a degree of difficulty added in caring for and building ...

7 common qualities perfect candidates embody

If you were to dream up perfect podiatry job candidates, what qualities would they embody? We’ll give you a clue, it’s got nothing to do with how well they groom their beard or dress in the latest labels. It’s more the personal qualities. Qualities like being genuine with every interaction. Being clear and decisive. Using ...

Hard truths about toast and soft food tips for aged care

Many residents of aged care facilities love having toast for breakfast. What many staff don’t realise, though, is that toast is classified as a normal texture food. According to the Australian standardised definitions and terminology for texture-modified foods and fluids, toast is only suitable for people on a normal diet. Surprisingly, bread and toast require the same number ...

How to manage dysphagia considerations

Approach Considerations The goals of dysphagia treatment are to maintain adequate nutritional intake for the patient and to maximize airway protection. Disorders of oral and pharyngeal swallowing are usually amenable to rehabilitation, including dietary modification and training in swallowing techniques and maneuvers. [1] Surgery is rarely indicated for patients with swallowing disorders, although in patients ...

Is Weight Loss In Clients With Larger Bodies Of Concern?

Often when a client has a larger body, it can be harder to notice that they have lost weight. As dietitians, we have seen weight loss go unflagged in clients with larger bodies, simply because the facility assumes this “is a good thing for them”. The evidence suggests otherwise. When any client aged 65 and ...

How This Chef Changed The Food Service

A positive test for coronavirus. News reaches the kitchen. The food service team knows that things need to change to prevent the spread of infection. But how will they do this? This can happen to any home in our current times. In the current climate, it is good to be prepared with a plan on ...

Our Telehealth Nutrition Consults Effective

Telehealth consults have been part of our usual service for many years. Our experience is that older clients receive care that is on par with an in-person consult. COVID-19 shouldn’t keep clients from maintaining their nutritional health. After all, nutrition is a key pillar of general health and wellbeing. But how can you achieve this ...

Mealtime Nutrition Experience During COVID-19

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted the way that our aged care homes operate in Australia. Our dietitians have observed numerous homes step up to the plate and modify their dining rooms to provide a safe dining experience for their residents. Some homes are no longer using their dining rooms, while others are ...

Easy Ideas For Fortifying Your Aged Care Menu

How well do you think your current aged care menu is able to provide adequate nutrition and hydration? Particularly for those clients with poor appetites and who eat only small meals? Increasing energy and protein content of meals, also known as food fortification, can improve nutrition without increasing the amount of food. This can assist ...

Consumer Directed Care In Menus And Mealtimes

Imagine you have gone from cooking what you like and eating at a time you want to eat, to having meals presented where there may be little or no choice, the mealtimes regimented and the consideration to your likes or dislikes non-existent. This is the harsh reality for many residents in our aged care homes. ...

Curbing The Myths Around Colostomies And Diets

The management of Stomas and Colostomies can be quite daunting for both staff and residents in aged care homes. Many dietitians find that there is a lot of confusion with special diets and colostomy’s. What is it and why do some people have it? A colostomy is an opening in the belly that connects to ...

Vegetarian And Vegan Protein Diets In Aged Care

There is a slow but steady rise in Australia with 1 in 10 people choosing to follow a vegetarian diet (1). This is likely to follow-on within aged care. A typical vegetarian diet consists of plant-based foods without eating animal products such as meat, poultry and seafood. A vegan diet also excludes eggs and dairy. ...

Catering For Special Diets At Christmas Time

Food is important throughout the year, but it tends to be one of the main focuses at Christmas time and everyone looks forward to the Christmas meal. Many residents will be enjoying glazed ham or turkey with gravy, roast vegetables and Christmas pudding. However, there will be a number of residents in your homes who ...

How Much Protein Food And Drink Is Enough fuel muscles?

Protein does a lot more than just fuel muscles, it is essential for many other aspects of our health. We use it for building and maintaining muscle mass, for producing hormones and even as a source of energy. If we don’t have enough protein, our organs are not going to work properly. Unfortunately, our bodies ...

Challenges Associated With IDDSI Terminology

It is now nine months since the suggested changeover date from the previous guidelines for texture modification and thickened fluids to IDDSI. Many facilities have now moved to using the new IDDSI terminology, However, there are challenges for aged care foodservice in providing meals that are suitable while still maintaining consumer satisfaction and person-centered care. ...

Caring For Our Clients And Their Families During COVID-19

While we are all working on the best ways to protect our clients, their families and our staff during COVID-19, we also need to continue good quality care for our clients. As all aged care providers are aware, the next set of National Quality Indicator Program (NQIP) reporting is due for the Jan-March quarter very ...

How Your Menu Can Make A Difference During COVID-19

Even though much has changed in the last few weeks with the current COVID-19 situation, our clients’ need for good food and nutrition remains the same, if not more vital. More than ever, your menu needs to meet your clients’ needs during this trying time of COVID-19. This is because clients are: • Less able ...

How This Chef Changed Food Service When A Client Was COVID-Positive

A positive test for coronavirus. News reaches the kitchen. The foodservice team knows that things need to change to prevent the spread of infection. But how will they do this? This can happen to any home in our current times. In the current climate, it is good to be prepared with a plan on how ...