Delicious and nutritious food and drink. It’s what everyone deserves, and it’s particularly important as we get older, to help us maintain a healthy diet and support our wellbeing.
Here at Care UK, we’re determined to put care home catering on a par with restaurant and hotel dining. Our dining with dignity initiative enables us to deliver an outstanding food and dining experience for every resident, every day. We also recruit some of the top chefs from the hospitality sector, whose creative approach is enabling us to win awards and drive up food quality across the care sector as a whole.
Chef-led catering teams
One aspect of our Dining with dignity approach is about providing residents with delicious dishes made from quality ingredients, designed around their preferences and dietary needs.
Our catering teams are at the heart of this initiative. The team in each home is led by an experienced and highly trained head chef, often an experienced hotel or restaurant chef, who takes pride in sourcing top quality ingredients and delighting residents with tempting new dishes and treats. Our head chefs are part of their home’s management team, and they meet every new resident to learn about that person’s nutritional needs, likes and dislikes.
A person-centred approach to food
The catering team in each Care UK home provides a hearty breakfast and a three-course main meal every day. Menus change seasonally and residents are involved in selecting the dishes that are included. Alternative menus, as well as snacks and drinks are always available, including freshly baked cakes and biscuits, and chefs will happily cook something ‘off menu’ if a resident fancies something different.
Residents are empowered to make their own choices and serve themselves wherever possible, and people who are living with dementia are supported to use Care UK’s bespoke dementia-friendly cutlery and crockery so they can eat independently.
Our dementia focus
Our chefs create tempting and appetising texture-modified meals for residents living with this condition, or those who simply prefer a soft diet, which look and taste very similar to other diners’ meals.
Some residents who are living with dementia may not sit for long enough to eat a meal so our chefs provide them with snack boxes filled with tasty finger foods that they can eat as they walk. Residents can also help themselves to snacks and drinks at ‘stations’ around the home whenever they wish.
Making every meal for all
The Care UK hospitality team has just launched a recipe book, full of ideas for starters, main meals, desserts and snacks that are texture-modified, designed especially for Care UK’s catering teams. James Clear, Hotel Services Manager says, “The recipe book shows the fantastic results that can be achieved with texture-modified foods. We hope the book will also provide inspiration for family carers who want to bring some fresh thinking to what they serve up for their loved one.”
We’ll let you know when the recipe book is available to download from our website. In the meantime, have you seen our Eating as we age guide? It offers practical tips and recipes to help people stay healthy in later life.
Our dining with dignity initiative has been spearheaded by Jon Bicknell, Care UK’s Food and Services Director, and in 2018 he won Group Care Home Caterer of the Year at the Care Home Catering Awards for his work in revolutionising mealtimes across our homes and for making the concept of dining with dignity a reality. Last year Jon was also named one of the ’50 best leaders in the care sector’ by Care Home Professional magazine.
Bringing people together
Food-based activities, from baking and tastings to cheese and wine evenings, are among the most popular in our care homes. At Perry Manor in Worcester, food is bringing residents together on a virtual world tour as they revisit places they’ve travelled to, or lived in. Each month takes them to a new country where residents focus on taste, smell and other senses to rekindle happy memories.
Liz, a resident at the home, runs an activity called ‘Rice is for puddings’, named after her book. Liz reads her book to other residents with afternoon tea and cake. The book is based on her life and so there is often a lot of discussion and reminiscence among residents who have had similar experiences.
Discover more about our focus on food and dining.