Nursing home seeking local nutritious food partnerships


Dr Alexandra Bernhardi

Health Columnist

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Mt Kooyong Nurshing Home nutritionist, Chloe Collins, and owner Max Ferguson. Image: Supplied.

A privately owned nursing home in Julatten, Mt Kooyong, is dedicated to elevating its standards up and beyond the required levels.

The nursing home is placing a greater significance on the nutrition value of the food served to help improve the health and well-being of residents.

The importance of a fresh, nutrient-dense whole food diet cannot be overemphasised and is particularly important for our most vulnerable community members.

Nutrition in Aged Care Facilities is a big challenge due to financial constraints but also because eating and swallowing are functions that we all take for granted - but which can become very reduced in an older person with dementia.

Suboptimal nutrition quickly leads to further knock-on effects that require medical intervention.

Together with nutritionist Chloe Collins and the excellent chefs and kitchen team, Mt Kooyong Nursing Home is introducing a state of the art wholefood diet.

Part of their principles is sourcing their food seasonal, local, and organic where possible.

This will ensure not only high nutrient density but will also help to reduce waste and will support the local economy.

As a General Practitioner, looking after the residents from the medical side, I am extremely excited about this project.

Nutrition - as a preventative strategy but also as an intervention - has become more and more the centre of medical research.

It is quite obvious that the principle of nutrition as a foundation for good health does not end when people move into a nursing home.

As a team, which includes everybody from admin staff to the gardener, we can make a huge difference in the quality of life of our residents.

The small nursing home, which is home to 32 mostly high-care residents, has always excelled due to its idyllic location and its passionate staff.

The owner, Max Ferguson, is committed to creating a “home” for the residents rather than an institution.

Part of the innovative concept is the evidence-based use of essential oils in addressing common challenges such as lack of appetite or agitation in residents with dementia.

To focus on optimal nutrition as a preventative strategy can help to avoid the steady decline and over medicalisation in Aged Care residents.

But this comes with a price tag, a price that Max Ferguson is willing to pay as he sees the long term benefits in it.

To Max Ferguson, it does not make a lot of sense to get fresh food shipped up from Brisbane or interstate, and he is hoping to establish good relationships with local farmers for fresh fruits and veggies, preferably raised without chemicals in healthy soil.

Farmers or food producers in the region interested in teaming up with Mt Kooyong Nursing Home can contact Max Ferguson on [email protected]

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