Living Well, Longer

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Food Openability

The Project

Food Openability A 400 by 228Food Openability examines the interaction of the person, the environment and food & beverage packaging. 

Australia’s ageing population has seen an increase in older long-stay hospital patients. 50% of beds are occupied by patients staying longer than 14 days or more, while approximately 34% patients stay more than 28 days.

Little research has been done to look at the “openability” of pre-packaged food and the potential impact upon patient recovery and length of stay. Pre-packaged products deliver convenience however can present a barrier to adequate nutrition.

Initial findings of this project have shown that openability problems experienced in hospital are also experienced by well older adults. Well-bodied adults and children also struggle with some food packaged items such as yoghurt, cheese packets and bottles of water.

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The Researchers

This project brings together the disciplines of nutrition and dietetics,occupational therapy, ergonomics and industrial design.

Alison Bell is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences with the School of Health and Society with her qualifications in Occupational Therapy and Ergonomics.

Karen Walton is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health in the School of Nutrition and Medicine. She has qualification in nutrition and dietetics and much of her research focuses on nutrition support and the older adult via food service dietetics.

Dr Alaster Yoxall is a design fellow at the Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom. Dr Yoxall's centre, Lab4Living focuses on research expertise in health, rehabilitation, design, engineering, ergonomics and user-led design.  He is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of packaging research and has been instrumental in developing international standards for accessible packaging and panel test methods.  He is also a technical expert on CEN and ISO committees.

Jacqueline Chevis is an Occupational Therapist and Hand Therapist working in the Wollongong Hospital and in private practice.

Last reviewed: 8 November, 2017