* 2 September 2022 *
Vasey RSL Care was involved in a research project conducted by a group of researchers based in three countries – Australia, Netherlands and USA – to investigate whether dietary sources of calcium and protein would have an effect on hip fractures and falls in older adults.
The research study, ‘Effect of dietary sources of calcium and protein on hip fractures and fall in older adults in residential care: cluster randomised control trial’ by S Iuliano et al, 2021, published in the British Medical Journal, was a two year randomised controlled trial with 7,195 participants, of which 68% were female, the average age was 86 years, and they were living at 60 accredited residential facilities in Australia.
Thirty facilities – including our Ivanhoe home – provided residents with additional milk, yoghurt and cheese for the duration of the trial, while the other thirty – including our Bundoora home – were the control group and continued to provide their usual menus, in line with dietary requirements and government regulations.
The outcomes from the research study showed that increasing calcium and protein intake via additional dairy products had benefits for residents, not only in the number of hip fractures from falls, but also by decreasing the number of falls:
- 33% reduction in all fractures
- 46% reduction in hip fractures
- 11% reduction in falls
- Weight and lean mass of limbs was maintained among the additional dairy group
Putting the Findings into Practice
We worked closely with our food services provider, Medirest, to incorporate these findings into our winter menu:
- Increasing milk in recipes such as milk-based soups, desserts like mousse and custard, and through the use of powdered milk additions to recipes;
- Increasing cheese sauce in recipes such as quiches and pasta, and adding cheese sauces;
- Baked items such as cheesy scrolls, cheesecake, cheese in sandwiches and salads and potato dishes with milk or cheese;
- Including yoghurt in some desserts
In addition to these changes which affect all residents, we have also made other changes:
- Ensuring milk is offered as a drink option at all times
- Offering cheese and crackers as an option for morning tea
- Providing yoghurt as an option for morning and afternoon tea
We are now working with Medirest to plan the spring menu to again incorporate additional milk, cheese and yoghurt into the menu and to provide these as options for residents to choose for morning and afternoon tea.