Informed choice

Informed choice reflects a person-centred approach, focussing on the needs and preferences of an individual instead of the condition of their health. [1] Aged care services which adopt a person-centred approach to dining experiences consider the older adult’s meal preferences and mealtimes that are meaningful and were enjoyed by the person before accessing aged care support. Therefore, informed choice is important in supporting the person’s autonomy and preferences while ensuring their awareness of possible risks. 
When informing older adults of associated eating risks, you may want to consider the following: 

  • Benefits of choice - Encouraging choice in menus and mealtimes increases the likelihood of older adults eating and drinking, maintaining their weight, having higher quality of life, and experiencing higher satisfaction with their care. [2] 
  • It is important to get to know each older adult and regularly discuss their preferences to account for change. 
  • What are choices? - Choice options should include where they sit, who they sit with, when to eat or drink, what to eat or drink, what utensils they use, how much to eat or drink and whether they would like to use clothes protectors. [2] 
  • Providing options - Options can be provided by having multiple different dining settings or locations, extended windows for mealtimes and restaurant style menu ordering. [2] 
  • Risky choices - If the choice has a potential risk, it is important to make sure the older adult understands the severity of risk, to give suggestions on how to manage the risk, and if it involves others to support the person to make a decision which does not put them at risk. [2]

To support you to provide informed choice in your aged care service the following resources may be useful: 

Quality Standards

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission are currently consulting on draft guidance resources to help providers, aged care workers and other stakeholders to understand the new strengthened Quality Standards and their roles and responsibilities in meeting them. Along with the new Aged Care Act, the strengthened Quality Standards are expected to be introduced from 1 July 2024.

For more information:

Draft Provider Guidance Standard 6 – Food and Nutrition

Want to know more?

If you require more information on implementing an approach to delivering tasty, safe and nutritious meals in aged care: 

  1. Browse the nutrition resources.
  2. Look for research evidence within the PubMed database by using one of the PubMed searches provided here. PubMed contains brief information (‘citations’) on millions of research studies. It can therefore be challenging to search. Our librarian has made finding highly relevant information on this topic as simple as a click of a button. Click on All to see everything in the database on the topic or choose Full text to view only articles immediately available to you free of charge in full text.

Connect to PubMed evidence

If you wish to find out more about nutrition in aged care, try using one of the PubMed searches below. These links (all or full text) take you to the relevant research literature in the large international PubMed database.

  1. Coulter A, Oldham J. Person-centred care: What is it and how do we get there? Future Hosp J. 2016;3(2):114-6.
  2. A guide for aged care staff food and drink in aged care - Supporting informed choice & risk [Internet]. Canberra, AU: Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission; 2023 [cited 2024 February 02]. Available from: 
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