Unit of competency details

HLTAH415B - Assist with the screening of dietary requirements and special diets (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 25/Mar/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to HLTAH415C - Assist with the screening of dietary requirements and special diets 06/May/2012

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 069901 Nutrition And Dietetics  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 069901 Nutrition And Dietetics  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to assess nutritional requirements of clients and participate in the implementation of special diets

Application of the Unit


Work performed requires a range of well developed skills where some discretion and judgment is required and individuals will take responsibility for their own outputs

Allied Health Assistants operate within the scope of their defined roles and responsibilities and under supervision of an Allied Health Professional

For training and assessment pathways, experience in workplace application of the skills and knowledge identified in this competency unit should be provided as required to support allied health professions

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Pre-requisite units 

This unit must be assessed after successful achievement of pre-requisite units:

  • HLTNA301C Provide assistance to nutrition and dietetic services
  • HLTNA302C Plan and evaluate meals and menus to meet recommended dietary guidelines
  • HLTNA303C Plan and modify menus according to nutrition dietary plans
  • HLTNA304C Plan meals and menus to meet cultural and religious needs
  • HLTNA305C Support food services in menu and meal order processing
  • HLTFS207C Follow basic food safety practices

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Conduct basic nutrition screening

1.1 Confirm the client group  for screening with a dietitian

1.2 Use the organisation's established screening documentation  to gather client information

1.3 Consult with other appropriate staff before conducting the screening, eg nursing staff

1.4 Explain the screening purpose and process to the client and seek feedback to determine their understanding

1.5 Conduct the screening at a pace and using language appropriate to the clients needs

1.6 Seek appropriate assistance if client participation issues  arise

2. Tabulate screening results to determine nutritional risk

2.1 Tabulate screening results  using organisation procedures

2.2 Identify level of risk ie high, medium, low

2.3 Inform dietitian of high risk clients in a timely manner and according to organisation protocols

2.4 Schedule low risk clients according to re-screening protocols

2.5 File completed and tabulated screening forms according to organisation protocols

3. Prepare or arrange supply of nutrition support services for low to medium risk clients under supervision of a dietitian

3.1 Select appropriate nutrition support item or services according to organisation guidelines

3.2 Implement nutrition intervention and communicate with food services, according to organisation requirements 

3.3 Prepare the nutrition support item, where necessary

3.4 Seek client feedback about the tolerance of the nutrition support services, and make adjustments if required, and within scope of role and responsibilities as defined by the organisation

3.5 Maintain client records, according to organisation requirements

4. Implement special dietary requirements

4.1 Use screening results to determine nutrition intervention

4.2 Refer nutrition intervention to food services, according to organisation protocols 

4.3 Seek client feedback about the tolerance of the nutrition intervention, and make adjustments if required, within scope of role and responsibilities as defined by the organisation

4.4 Refer on to dietitian when requirements and issues are beyond scope of roles and responsibilities as defined by the organisation

4.5 Maintain client records, according to organisation requirements

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

  • Key principles of the impact of diet on health
  • Key principles of fluid intake
  • Principles of rehabilitation
  • Principles and basics of a care plan
  • Significance of nutritional risk indicators , including
  • weight loss
  • weight gain
  • appetite
  • bowel function
  • biochemical indicators, e.g. albumin, iron level
  • allergies/intolerances
  • Organisation screening and assessment procedures and protocols
  • Product knowledge of supplements, including supplement equivalents
  • Special diets and their importance to a client's health, including
  • low salt
  • gluten free
  • carbohydrate modified
  • dairy free
  • Workings and protocols of the food service system
  • Organisation record keeping requirements

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Use communication skills to secure client information
  • Analyse and interpret assessment material
  • Make correct assessment and nutrition intervention
  • Identify when client is too complex and outside scope of role and responsibilities
  • Work effectively within the food service system

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

  • Communicate with clients to establish and monitor special dietary requirements
  • Communicate effectively within the food service system
  • Accurately tabulate assessment results
  • Prepare and/or provide nutrition support services
  • Prepare dietary supplements, as required
  • Maintain client records for dietary information
  • Work within a care plan framework

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified knowledge as well as practical skills
  • Observation of workplace performance is essential for assessment of this unit
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of situations relevant to the workplace
  • Where, for reasons of safety, space, or access to equipment and resources, assessment takes place away from the workplace, the assessment environment should represent workplace conditions as closely as possible

Context of and specific resources for assessment :

  • Assessment must be completed in the workplace
  • Relevant guidelines, standards and procedures
  • Resources essential for assessment include:
  • Screening forms
  • Food supplements
  • Infection control procedures
  • Screening forms
  • Nutrition support items

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Supervision refers to :

  • Instructing, advising, and monitoring another person in order to ensure safe and effective performance in carrying out the duties of their position
  • The nature of supervision is flexible and may be conducted by various means including:
  • in person and
  • through use of electronic communications media such as telephone or video conferencing, where necessary
  • Frequency of supervision will be determined by factors such as:
  • the task maturity of the person in that position or clinical placement
  • the need to review and assess client conditions and progress in order to establish or alter treatment plans in case of students and assistants
  • the need to correct and develop non clinical aspects such as time management, organisation requirements, communication skills, and other factors supporting the provision of clinical care and working within a team
  • A person under supervision does not require direct (immediate) and continuous personal interaction, but the method and frequency will be determined by factors outlined above

Client group may include :

  • Acute care clients
  • People with disabilities
  • Aged clients
  • People in residential care
  • People living in the community
  • Clients with a mental illness
  • Extended care clients

Assessment documentation may include 

  • Nutrition Assessment Reports
  • Other organisation formats

Client participation issues may include :

  • Health status
  • Language barriers
  • Dementia
  • Disability
  • Age

Tabulation procedures may include :

  • Manual
  • Electronic

Organisation protocols for communicating with food service systems may occur in :

  • Formal referral
  • Electronic referral
  • Face to face communication

Client satisfaction may include :

  • Taste
  • Colour
  • Thickness
  • Temperature
  • Cultural appropriateness
  • Validated client satisfaction tool
  • Taste, colour, thickness, temperature of nutrition support and menu items

Special dietary requirements may include :

  • Salt free
  • Gluten free
  • Carbohydrate modified
  • Dairy free
  • Protein/energy modified

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable

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