What are we??
How did we come about?
- A Nutrition & Wellness Program
- We work with individuals to determine food, social and recreational needs
- We receive referrals from the RAS Assessors via My Aged Care
- We assess the individuals in their homes and look at their diets, lifestyle and health status. It’s an informal conversation and focuses on a holistic approach to food nutrition and community interaction.
- We use the Mini Nutritional Assessment Tool – Short Form (MNA-SF) to measure the nutritional status of each client.
- Based on the findings we then tailor make a resource pack with education about nutrition and wellness that includes menu planning and dietary fact sheets based on the National Meal Guidelines. We also link them to other service providers. Where the client falls into the At Risk or Malnourished Categories, we will send a letter to their GP recommending that a referral be made to a dietician. We then arrange a review date, which can be anywhere from 1 – 12 months depending on their score.
Nutritional support has always been something at the forefront of our minds here at Kiama Meals on Wheels. Our team of dedicated volunteers and staff often report that some of our customers are in need of more nutritional support.
Since 2011, Kiama Meals on Wheels has worked in conjunction with dietetics and nutrition staff and students from the University of Wollongong. Together we have conducted research projects to address areas of interest and concern, for example referral numbers and patterns, a comparative analysis of the nutritional value of our meals versus supermarket frozen meals.
Then in 2013, Home and Community Care (HACC) put out an expression of interest for services to apply for HACC growth funding. Kiama Meals on Wheels responded with a proposal for funding. The application in part was prompted by the results of the University of Wollongong’s research into declining referral numbers to our meal service and also due to our increasing awareness of the nutritional needs of our customers. When we applied for funding the focus was looking at nutritional screening and a better approach at hospital-to-home care. We wanted early intervention, to identify people at risk of malnutrition and coordinate with key stakeholders.
In 2014 the project was initiated through the collaboration between Joanne North (Kiama Meals on Wheels Manager) and Dr Karen Walton (University of Wollongong; Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics). We wanted to validate our project by having professionals involved.
The initial project targeted our already existing customers of which 34 completed the study. Our staff were trained in using the MNA-SF tool and conducted screenings with the participants in their homes at baseline, 3, 6 and 9 months. Malnourished or at risk of malnutrition participants were encouraged to discuss results with their GPs. The results from the study showed that nutritional screening can benefit those customers at risk of malnutrition. The project was validated by the fact that Kiama Meals On Wheels was awarded another 2 years of funding to run its now established Nutrition and Wellness Program.
If you or anyone you know may benefit from this program then please phone our office on 02) 4232 3735.