At Lisa Sossen & Associates we recognise that meals are an enjoyable and social part of the day for residents in an aged care home. With experience and background consulting to aged care facilities, we work together with the catering team to achieve menus that are nutritious, varied, appetising and consider the specific dietary and cultural needs of individual residents who may be high risk and with complex needs. Our menu plans and dietary advice take into account current research and best practice, including the Food First Approach. We believe that menus should be as cost-efficient as practical without compromising the quality of meals and benefit to the to those living in an aged care home. We also assist aged care organisations with accreditation preparedness, implementation of systems, and the New Aged Care Quality Standards.
The Food First Approach is the use of foods rather than a commercial supplement to boost energy and protein in the diet. This can be achieved by fortifying foods and meals or offering nutritionally dense foods and drinks. It can also extend to strategies such as encouraging more frequent meals and snacks.
Our nutrition assessments and reviews of the clients in aged care are through and holistic. We will review diagnosis, medications, diet, skin integrity, bowel habits, blood results and food charts. We will discuss the issues and troubleshoot for recommendations with the staff and the client to make holistic recommendations.
Together with the catering team we assess and revise the current menu plan or develop a new menu plan for the Aged Care Organisation. The menu development should include the input from the clients in the home and link this back to the foodservice systems and cooking equipment available. The mealtime experience is essential for meals and snacks and should be prioritised. It does not matter how nutritious the food and drinks are if they are not eaten.
Menus should include the five core food groups (Grains and cereals, Protein from meat and alternatives, vegetables, fruit and dairy foods). We recognise that not all clients are able to eat the large volumes of foods, so nutrient-dense recipes are very important. The menu should focus on snacks, fortified recipes, opportunities for meals “outside” the scheduled meal times and individual preferences and choice.
Assistance can also be provided for individual clients with specific dietary issues. We can assist with foods, meals and menus for wound healing, high fibre, low fibre, renal diets, FODMAP, allergies and intolerance’s and texture modified diets. It is also important to ensure that residents are consuming sufficient fluids from a variety of healthy options to maintain good levels of hydration.
From her extensive experience in aged care dietetics, Lisa understands the struggles that facilities have with funding and cost-benefit to the resident. Lisa and her team of experienced dietitians are committed to achieving cost-effective nutrition plans without compromising client care. In one instance, she found a small mistake task change saved a and aged Care Organisation about $14,000 annually and her High Energy High Protein Structured Diet resulted in 50% decline in referrals for unintentional weight loss. Food-first options are at the forefront of Lisa’s philosophy to nutrition. Food is part of the fabric of all cultures; it is social and nourishing to body, heart and soul. By implementing structured fortified programs—fortifying meals with extra energy and protein from real foods, such as adding butter or oil, and protein such as cheese and milk powders —Lisa has helped aged clients reduce unintentional weight loss while saving on the cost of expensive commercial supplements. Her research on this topic is published in the Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology, January 2020. Lisa is currently doing her PhD thesis on Food First Approaches in Aged Care.
The team at Lisa Sossen & Associates is highly regarded as a leader in aged care dietetics. Lisa and her team can work with your nursing and catering teams to provide preventative management and the application and improvement of systems. We can assist your home with the implementation of the new consumer-focused Aged Care Quality Standards and the IDDSI (International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative) Framework.
Lisa has played an important role in assisting Aged Care Organisations (ACO’s) to pass accreditation. She has also been called in by sanctioned ACO’s that have not complied with accreditation standards, and supervised and assisted them to attain an acceptable standard. Lisa’s philosophy is for facilities to be “accreditation-spot-visit ready” at any time; she advises ACO’s to consistently put the work into documentation throughout the year, so that all documentation is always demonstrating correct processes, and the “loop is closed” with the nutrition plan. Lisa recommends the regular risk identification and assessment of residents to minimise panic during accreditation spot visits—apart from the obvious benefit of monitoring at-risk individuals.
Lisa and her team have diffused many situations with family members, advocates for the clients to provide the best care and outcomes for the resident and the ACO.
With her extensive background, experience and knowledge in her field, Lisa has been called as an expert in cases about ethical decisions and care of residents in aged care. She is available for consultation and advice.
Our team at Lisa Sossen and Associates believes that the enjoyment of meals in an aged care home is an intrinsic part of the quality of life, and a means of preventing malnutrition in this frail resident population. We aim towards the minimisation of food wastage and the inappropriate use of commercial supplements to help Aged Care Organisations potentially save thousands of dollars a year in their tight budgets. We are informed and guided by current research, professional and industry standards and best practice, including the Food First Approach. Utilising audits and monitoring systems, we work with the catering team to provide cost-effective menus that never compromise on nutrition, variety and taste.
Individually and as a team of professional dietitians working in aged care, we abide by our guiding principles:
Our team at Lisa Sossen and Associates can assist your facility with ACFI (the Aged Care Funding Instrument) validation and to demonstrate how you can effectively implement the new Aged Care Quality Standards that were introduced on 1 July 2019.
The new Aged Care Quality Standards are based on three principles:
The organisation must demonstrate that they understand the requirements, apply the requirements clearly, monitor how they are applying the requirements and review the outcome and adjust their practices. Our team recognises the massive undertaking of a facility to understand, apply and monitor the new requirements, so we are available to assist you with all aspects of the new standards relating to dietary requirements.
* The Aged Care Quality Standards use the term ‘consumer’ to refer to a resident. We prefer to use the original term ‘resident’ to indicate that the person is living in their home.
Lisa has had a life-long interest in aged care dietetics and has worked in both volunteer and paid positions in that sector in South Africa, Canada and Australia since the age of twelve. Since gaining her degree as a dietitian in 1996, she has been a service provider to aged care as a clinician, consultant, educator and researcher. Lisa and her team have all had extensive experience and a strong track record working in aged care facilities, and share a passion and work ethos to provide the highest standard of advice and care.
It has been an important part of Lisa’s contribution to her profession to educate the next generation of dietitians. She has worked in a voluntary capacity as an Adjunct Lecturer at Monash University teaching the aged care and texture-modification subjects of the Dietetics Course and Food Science Course. As an educator in her field, Lisa ensures that she is up-to-date with all the latest research and thinking in aged care dietetics. Her passion and interest in this field has been passed on to her students.
Lisa has been a trailblazer in the aged care sector with her ground-breaking research and development. In Australia there are currently no aged care-specific guidelines to nutrition; the requirements are based on the needs of the healthy overall population, resulting in portions that are too big for most elderly residents. Lisa’s latest innovative evidence-based research about serving sizes for the elderly has responded to this issue. Her findings will provide significant guidance to aged care dietitians about portion sizes and menu development, and guidelines about new ways to reduce the risk of malnutrition. Lisa has also done important research about Texture-Modified diets. Her findings demonstrate that there is a need for fortified texture-modified diets and that the reshaped meals have been well accepted by facilities. Her investigation into the cost-benefit of the pre-prepared moulded foods concluded that they provide an economical, efficient, safe and consistent alternative to preparing texture-modified foods inhouse.