HomeNewsNews & EventsProviding people with safe and enjoyable mealtimes – amendments to NDIS practice standards expected soon

Providing people with safe and enjoyable mealtimes – amendments to NDIS practice standards expected soon

What you need to know

  • The new practice standards, soon to be released by the Commission, aim to reduce avoidable deaths due to choking and respiratory-related issues at mealtimes
  • Quality indicators are likely to include items for identification, staff training, and procedures for safe mealtime management
  • Training modules are in development to assist providers to meet requirements
  • Members are encouraged to consider their existing mealtime procedures and make preparations
Ensuring participants have safe and enjoyable meals is the goal of the new practice standards to be released soon. The need for practice improvement to prevent accidental choking and reduce respiratory disease was highlighted in the 2019 Scoping Review.

About the proposed standards

New mealtime management requirements are expected to be added to the NDIS Practice Standards core module to address these risks.

Indicators relating to screening and identifying risks, and ensuring follow-up assessment with allied health providers when needed, are anticipated.

NDS is keen to hear of any challenges experienced in regards to funding in plans when relevant health practitioners, such as dieticians, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists, are warranted.

A 2019 Victorian review of disability service provision to people who have died found that when a mealtime plan was available, it was often not followed by the disability service. Please be sure to plan for the implementation of this Practice Standard and ensure all your staff are following mealtime plans. Quality indicators will also apply to training and implementation.

New standards, within the high intensity daily personal activities supplementary module, may apply for people with severe dysphagia, when significant swallowing issues have been identified.

Training Course for safe and enjoyable mealtimes

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has led a project on developing a training course for safe and enjoyable mealtimes.

The course aims to support NDIS providers meet registration requirements relating to the delivery of safe and enjoyable meals. It seeks to reduce the risk of choking death, as well as improve the nutritional benefits of the meals provided to those with swallowing disorders. The training course is expected to be available before the end of the year.

Article sourced from National Disability Services