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Funding cuts to the aged care industry impact catering budgets and aged care staffing levels, which may in turn affect the nutritional status of aged care residents. This paper reports average food expenditure and trends in Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs).
This is a retrospective study collecting RACFs’ economic outlay data through a quarterly online survey conducted over the 2015 and 2016 financial years.
Data were compiled from 817 RACFs, representing 64 256 residential beds and 23 million bed-days Australia-wide. The average total spend in Australian Dollars (AUD) on catering consumables (including cutlery/crockery, supplements, paper goods) was $8.00 per resident per day (prpd) and $6.08 prpd when looking at the raw food and ingredients budget alone. Additional data from over half the RACFs (n = 456, 56%) indicate a 5% decrease in food cost ($0.31 prpd) in the last year, particularly in fresh produce, with a simultaneous 128% ($0.50 prpd) increase in cost for supplements and food replacements. Current figures are comparatively less than aged care food budgets internationally (US, UK and Canada), less than community-dwelling older adults ($17.25 prpd) and 136% less than Australian corrective services ($8.25 prpd).
The current spend on food in RACFs has decreased compared with previous years, reflecting an increasing reliance on supplements, and is significantly less than current community food spend.
This document has been peer reviewed.