More than 30 people working in the care industry came together for an innovative care catering event.
The interactive session, held during Nutrition and Hydration week, put attendees in the shoes of residents to highlight just how important positive dining experiences are to quality care.
Led by executive director of NAPA (National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People) Sylvie Silver, and Paul Wright, UFS elderly care development chef.
Sylvie said: “Mealtimes aren’t just about nutrition, they’re key social occasions too. And like any meaningful activity, care needs to be taken to ensure individual needs are taken into account. And that all starts with seeing things from their point of view.”
The event, which was inspired by Care Quality Commission guidance, began with guests being given a pair of glasses to replicate visual impairments that are common among elderly people, such as tunnel vision and cataracts, before being welcomed into a drab dining room, complete with an aroma of boiled cabbage.
Guests were surprised by what residents in poor care settings saw, or didn't. With white table cloths, white crockery and white food, the results were shocking.
Attendees were then taken through a detailed session with Sylvie, who highlighted the importance of making mealtimes an activity, and discussed ways to improve things for residents.
Paul said: “Pleasant dining experiences are a big part of good quality care and a major factor when people come to choose a home – quite rightly. This session showed just how important a good dining setup is and our guests have left brimming with practical ideas, which is great.”
Guests then returned to the "live" care setting and saw it had been transformed with fresh flowers, a colourful backdrop, new crockery, and aromas of freshly brewed coffee - a stark contrast to the image that was displayed before.
To end the sessions, guests were then invited to take part in a masterclass in care cooking, which focused on how stronger tastes, fortification, and grazing snacks can help boost nutrition for elderly residents.
James Clear, hotel services manager, Care UK said: “The day was fantastic. The atmosphere alone has been engaging and has provided a great opportunity to share best practice. The good and bad settings were a real eye opener.”