UK Malnutrition Awareness Week, which takes place from 14 – 20 October, was created to raise awareness of undernutrition and dehydration.
This may come as a surprising statistic, but more than three million people in the UK are either at risk of or are malnourished, with an estimated one million over the age of 65. Despite having access to a wide and varied diet, struggling to eat is a common issue for older people. A lack of appetite and difficulty digesting certain foods are all common issues.
Good nutrition and hydration is something we take very seriously in our homes. Our dedicated catering team have a number of ways to ensure all our residents receive the support they need to eat a nutritious and delicious meal. Mark Dale, Catering and Hospitality Manager, explains how it works at Borough Care:
- Communication between staff and the catering team is top priority, so if a resident has an issue, we are able to address it swiftly.
- Our catering team has daily snap chat meetings with staff who are able to say if a service user has lost or gained weight, and how we can try to correct this. This may be because a service user has sore gums and would prefer to eat a softer option, which is then taken up by their home cooks. We review these cases daily until they can eat regular food again.
- To support communication, we also use smart software which tracks important information about our residents and will alert us if they are found to be losing weight.
- Our meal choices are incredibly flexible and the catering team, often after consultation with a family member, are able to tailor food choices.
- Some of our residents are also using finger food menus (food which can be picked up easily with fingers), which helps them eat independently, without aids or intervention from staff. This is proving to be a very popular choice for some residents.
- All of our meals are fully dietary labelled for calorific and allergen values. We work in partnership with our catering supplier Apetito, who also provide us access to their Dietitians and Nutritionists, so we can get very tailored advice for individual residents.
- We have hydration stations that are easy to access in all of our homes. This means residents can take a drink at any point, without having to remember to ask.
- We recently completed a consultation exercise with residents and their family members around what food they would like to eat. Overwhelmingly, at each home, residents preferred softer food options and favoured a wider choice of vegetarian and fish dishes. Taking the views of residents into consideration, the new menus have the option of a meat, fish or vegetarian dish available every day.
Mark added: “Our catering team has worked hard to create delicious, nutritious choices based on feedback from both residents and staff. At Borough Care, we know how important a well-balanced, nutritious diet is to the health and wellbeing of our residents. It’s important we serve dishes that both look appetising and taste great, so residents enjoy eating them and get the essential nutrients they need.”
If you would like to find out more about your loved one’s diet or get involved in the development of future menus, please speak to a member of the catering team in your home.