The role of dietitians in residential aged care: How do cooks and chefs perceive their contribution?

Olivia Farrer, Letizia Sasanelli, Louisa Matwiejczyk, Alison Yaxley, Michelle Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to explore how dietitians could work with cooks and chefs to contribute to best practice. Methods: Data from interviews and focus groups comprising 38 chefs, cooks and food service managers were analysed. Inductive line-by-line coding of transcripts was conducted within a critical realist framework. Coding was completed independently by two authors before reaching consensus on themes. Results: Four main themes emerged: (i) knowledge sharing; (ii) communication; (iii) collaboration; and (iv) accessibility. Participants praised dietitians’ knowledge and expertise, but some raised concerns about inconsistency in the advice they received. Conclusion: Dietitians working in residential aged care are ideally positioned to act as advocates for residents and food services. However, findings suggest that experiences of working with dietitians are mixed. Aged care menu guidelines and quality measures could assist, not only in promoting a consistent approach to dietetic advice, but also a system for benchmarking satisfaction and best practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number2
Early online date17 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • dietitian
  • food services
  • homes for the aged
  • residential facilities


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