Constipation Protocols
Constipation is a common problem in older people, especially if they are in long term care. This is due to a number of reasons, eg:
  • Inadequate dietary fibre
  • Low fluid intake
  • Immobility
  • Medication side effects
  • Polypharmacy
  • Ignoring the urge to go
  • Accessibility to fibre and fluid
  • Irritable bowel
  • Laxative Abuse
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Neurologic conditions

Studies have shown the beneficial effects of consuming an increased intake of fibre and fluid on the use of laxatives and reported constipation rates in aged care residents. It may be possible to reduce the frequency of constipation and the use of laxatives through dietary change. 25 to 30g of fibre and 8 to 10 cups of fluid is the theoretical requirement but can be difficult to achieve.

Care homes should have protocols in place for management of constipation:

  • Ensure the food provided to the residents meets the recommended intake of fibre and fluid.
  • Those patients who are unable to consume the minimum intake or those who remain constipated should be provided a high fibre mixture e.g. Prune- Bran Puree mix and/ or pear juice x 300ml per day
  • A fibre supplement eg Metamucil or Benefibre may be added
  • If the resident has not experienced a bowel action on day 2 post fibre mixture and supplement then an osmotic laxative or stool softener may be needed
  • If constipation remains an issue after these measures, an enema may be required- contact the GP.
Prune Bran Puree Mix

THere are many varients of this recipe- try adding to breakfast for residents with particular issues with their bowels.


1 large box (875g) Allbran
2 cups orange juice
3kg can apple puree or apples, pureed
1.5kg prune pulp or 1kg prunes, soaked and pureed


Mix Allbran and juice and allow to soak and soften.
Add fruits and mix all ingredients together.
Puree to required consistency.
Add a little more juice if mix is too dry.
Keep in the fridge.
Serve with porridge or cereal at breakfast time.

Don't forget to register for our 2 Day Improving Nutrition in Aged Care Seminar in Sydney on 14th and 15th July.

We have had a last minute change of venue! Now to be held at The Vibe Sydney: 

111 Goulburn St, Sydney NSW 2000.

Please download the program and registration form for more details.

Food Glorious Food: Aveo have partnered with NPA to provide a nutritional framework across Aveo's restaurant and catering services.

Redefining Food in Retirement: As we age our appetites drop, digestion is less effective and nutrient needs change. Watch our U Tube video about the importance of good food choices.

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This month:

Welcome to NPA's Aged Care Newsletter. Do you offer a specific fibre supplement for residents who suffer from constipation? Come to our Sydney seminar in July and find out more.

Nutrition and Hydration Week

Sydney Seminar

NPA in the News

Online e-learning Presentations

Have you attended NPA's Improving Nutrition in Aged Care Seminar? We are now offering the seminars as a series of online e-learning presentations.

Nutrition Resources

NPA has developed a set of resources and information for aged care homes.You can begin accessing  the NPA resources from our website now.

Free Online Presentations and Resources

NPA's Online e-learning presentations and Resources are free to facilities who have a contract for regular dietetic services.

Improving Nutrition in Aged Care Seminars

Check out our training program schedule for 2016. Facebook