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Menu & Mealtime Assessment Service

The Strengthened Aged Care Standard 6 – Food & Nutrition puts a greater focus on partnering with residents to ensure enjoyment, variety and informed input are demonstrated at mealtimes. For residential aged care facilities this will require a review of menus and mealtime processes to ensure the new standards are met, including that resident needs and preferences are thoroughly satisfied.

The Plena Healthcare Dietetics team provides comprehensive mealtime and menu review services, and provide advice, guidance and support to ensure your facility is meeting the strengthened standard.

What is different about the strengthened standard? 

The strengthened standard puts a greater focus on the engagement of and partnership with older people in the design and delivery of food and drink. Its priority is to make sure food and drink is appealing and meets older people’s needs and preferences. Food, drink and the dining experience are important contributors to an older person’s quality of life.  

Residential aged care facilities will be expected to implement systems to monitor and continuously improve the food service, and provide a functional process by which residents can express their food and drink preferences and influence menu design and delivery. 

Residential aged care facilities will be required to complete a menu and mealtime assessment annually, in order to meet the quality requirements of the new standard. 

Dietitian writing on checklist
What is involved in a menu and mealtime assessment? 

An experienced Plena Dietitian will thoroughly review your menu documentation and assess it against standard 6. They will look specifically at how detailed and specific your menu is, as well as how it delivers variety, nutritional balance and adheres to the aged care standards and IDDSI framework. You will receive a comprehensive report that includes assessment and recommendations. 

The dietitian will conduct an onsite meal audit, where the following factors will be assessed; 

  • Meal/serving size 
  • Visual appeal 
  • Variety 
  • Compliance to IDDSI framework for texture modified foods 
  • Alignment with the facility’s documented/planned menu 

This on-site audit also provides an opportunity for the dietitian to review the mealtime experience, which considers the dining room environment, atmosphere, delivery of meals, staff interaction with residents, how assistance is provided to those who may need it, and time allocated for mealtimes. The dietitian can assess resident mealtime enjoyment and satisfaction, and provide recommendations, education and guidance on how the experience can be improved. We can also provide guidance regarding methods to engage residents and seek their feedback regarding mealtime experiences.  

Someone is chopping vegetables
What are the outcomes and benefits of a menu and mealtime assessment? 
  • You will receive a comprehensive review of your menu and mealtime practices, with actionable recommendations that align to the strengthened aged care standard. 
  • Plena dietitians can support you to implement recommendations and practices to ensure compliance with the strengthened aged care standard. 
  • Your mealtime practices will be optimised to prioritise resident enjoyment and satisfaction, which will in turn improve overall morale and preserve the dignity of dining. 
  • Food service staff will be empowered and equipped to deliver the highest standards of service and care to your residents.  
  • Food wastage will be minimised, realising financial benefit for your facility.  
  • You will have a robust and meaningful pathway for residents to express preferences and share feedback that will enable you to continuously improve your service delivery.  


It is required that residential aged care facilities complete a menu and mealtime assessment to ensure compliance with the strengthened standards.  
The Plena Healthcare Menu & Mealtime Assessment service has been developed to remove confusion and complexity around mealtime provision in aged care, and to ensure our older populations receive the highest standards of care. 
Get in touch with the Plena Healthcare Dietetics team today to enquire about a Menu & Mealtime Assessment for your facility.