Posted on

3 Phrases to Remember in Senior Care Dining

3 Phrases to Remember in Senior Care Dining

Foodservice in a senior care community or nursing home can be a tricky balance. On one hand, you have to make sure meals are safe and nutritious for residents. On the other hand, you have to empower residents to make decisions on their own. In reality, these two things don’t have to be in opposition to one another.

According to the Pioneer Network’s New Dining Practice Standards, food and dining requirements are core components of quality of life and care in senior care communities. Let’s go through three important phrases from their findings and see why.

STATEMENT 1: Choice of food has a tremendous impact on quality of life.

In fact, some say it actually defines it. Food can provide many amazing benefits, and those positive attributes begin with choices. Ask a few simple questions. What does the resident want? For example, how did they do things before moving in, and how can those things be replicated within the community’s foodservice program? What to eat, when to eat, where to eat, and with whom are all important things to determine. Provide real choice, not token choices like the difference between hot and cold cereal.

STATEMENT 2: We do not assume that just because residents may not be able to make a choice in some parts of their lives, they cannot make choices related to dining.

When both residents and staff are well-educated on matters of choice, when staff are trained to look for the right things, and when residents have consistent relationships with staff members who can advocate for them, even residents with impaired decision-making capabilities, can experience choice as it relates to dining. Studies show that cognitive impairment does not impact choice-making, and people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment can still provide input on food choice and successfully and make many of those decisions.

STATEMENT 3: Mealtime dining studies provide evidence that enabling residents to choose what they want to eat at mealtime does not result in negative nutritional outcomes.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When residents have choice at mealtimes, it actually enhances the nutritional impact of meals. Even more important, it increases not just resident satisfaction, but also the satisfaction of staff, caregivers, and family members.

 

Lakeside is here to help improve your Senior Care Dining operations with various product solutions! The Suzy Q cart is the ideal solution for providing a person-centered dining environment for senior care communities!

Posted on

Challenges and Solutions for Senior Care Dining

There are several key challenges senior care foodservice directors face. Some of these challenges are day-to-day in their nature, while others are more macro, focusing on the bigger picture. Let’s run through a few of these challenges and solutions.

BUDGETS

Tight budgets are common. In fact, directors tend to have about 10 dollars to feed a resident three meals and two snacks per day. If you’re in senior care or nursing home foodservice, you know it’s important to master the skill of doing a lot with a little.

COLD FOOD

Whether you’re transporting food from the kitchen to the dining room or even directly to a resident’s bedside, maintaining proper food temperature is always a struggle in senior care foodservice.

HIGH FOOD WASTE

We waste a lot of food. In fact, studies show as much as 50 percent of the world’s food supply is wasted. In senior care foodservice, this is also an issue. From residents who throw away food they were served but didn’t want to discarding the cold dishes mentioned above, food waste is the same as wasting money.

POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

Meal times are some of the most enjoyable for senior care community residents. Staff should recognize this, and provide the type of service that makes residents happy.

LACK OF TEAMWORK

When staff communicate with one another, it’s easier to pinpoint potential issues in foodservice. Setting up a culture of sharing is a great way to combat this.

HIGH STAFF TURNOVER

These last three are all related. A disjointed team that provides poor service will most often be a staff that sees high turnover. Likewise, high turnover can lead to a lack of teamwork and poor service. Everything staffing-related is interconnected.

Meal delivery can make all the difference.

There are essentially two common ways to provide meal service. The first is with trays. Trays are very institutionalized. We don’t eat on a tray in our own homes, so using them in a senior care community seems a bit out-of-touch. Senior care residences are not intended for acute care, where trays are acceptable. Senior care residences are homes where people live.

The second mode is pre-plating. Similar to a restaurant, the plating is completed in the back-of-the-house with lists and tickets. Staff run plates back and forth from the kitchen and the dining room, making this what we call the “throw and go” method

The best way to deliver food is with mobile meal service.

Mobile meal delivery carts allow operators to bring fresh options and meal choice directly to the table or to a resident’s room. This way is the future of senior care dining as more and more directors realize the benefits.

Mobile meal delivery can eliminate cold food and food waste by allowing residents to hand-select what they want for dinner. It promotes interaction with staff and builds a sense of connection and teamwork. And, they’re certainly great for an operation’s bottom line.

 

Lakeside is here to help you improve your senior care dining experience. The Suzy Q cart is the ideal solution for providing a person-centered dining environment for senior care communities!