Monday, September 19, 2011

Food and Culture: The Impact on Health and Ageing

On 8 September  HCCA staff attended the workshop Food and Culture: The Impact on Health and Ageing at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre. This event was hosted by the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum.  The purpose of this workshop was to explore the issues and challenges in providing a range of food from different cultures in hospitals, nursing homes and aged care services.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Ms Joy Burch MLA, opened the session and welcomed the diversity of cultures and food in the ACT. Following her presentation, a variety of speakers from different fields gave their insight about food and its significance in people’s cultures and the impact on their health.  The keynote speaker was Jane Kellet, a Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics at University of Canberra. She talked about current research on malnutrition in elderly people in hospitals and residential care.  Garry Wright, the Food Services Manager and Kim Crawley, The Nutrition Manager from The Canberra Hospital talked about the changes they are making in their everyday menu planning to cater the diversity of patients admitted every day. Penny Jackson, the Manager for Nutrition Services from Red Cross also gave a good insight about Meals on Wheels services and the changes they are going through.  Terry Swarner, a consumer rperesetnative with HCCA, explained Food as a Clinical Issue, the history of clinical food, the standards of nutrition and to close the session he left us with a good prescription providing a healthy hint to have an apple everyday to keep the doctor away; Terry provided an apple to all attendees. Different individuals from Canberra multicultural communities spoke about what food means in their culture and their personal experiences in hospital, Meals on Wheels and aged care homes, suggesting what changes can be made.

The forum closed with an interesting panel discussion where questions were answered. All agreed that communication was an important factor to get the message across to the right people for changes to happen.

Yelin Hung
HCCA Office Manager

No comments: