Making every mouthful count – Australian Ageing Agenda

The Red Tea Detox

Aged care suppliers are utilizing progressive and sensible options to make sure residents with particular diets are effectively-fed and effectively-nourished, writes Sandy Cheu.

A brand new strategy to presenting texture modified meals to aged care residents on particular diets want means they want by no means miss out on having fun with smoked salmon or cocktail prawns at a facility meals-based mostly occasion once more.

The residents dwelling with dysphagia at Lifeview, a residential aged care supplier with services in Melbourne, now have all of their social gathering favourites pureed onto flat-bottomed soup spoons.

This approach has been a sport-changer for residents as a result of texture modified meals usually seems unappetising, says Stephen Milsted, supervisor hospitality companies at Lifeview.

“Our residents have the same emotions as us and they have the same values except they’re in aged care and they’re dependant on us to make a nice meal for them. Their ideas of a nice meal are the same, except they can’t eat a normal piece of roast beef or a chicken Kiev, so we have to ensure that it at least looks presentable on the plate,” Milsted tells Australian Ageing Agenda.

Stephen Milsted

The concept to pipe pureed meals onto spoons took place when Milsted and his colleagues had been on the lookout for methods to make sure residents with swallowing difficulties wouldn’t miss out on having fun with the meals different residents could be consuming at their Christmas events.

“When you go out to a cocktail party, you have your lovely prawns and homemade quiches and you just pick it up and eat it with no thought. And that’s just what you do. But when you have a swallowing difficulty, for instance, you can’t do that,” Milsted says.

“We looked at the presentation in the form of finger food. We had smoked salmon mousse pureed and put it on a flat Asian style soup spoon so it would be finger food for them too. It was presented differently, but it was actually the same food, so it wasn’t as if they were being left out,” he says.

Other meals piped onto spoons on the Christmas social gathering included plum pudding, chocolate ganache tarts, fruit mince and rooster. Lifeview cooks use comparable methods to cater for residents with swallowing difficulties at different occasions – together with the 97-plus social gathering to have fun life – to make sure everyone seems to be consuming the identical meals.

During Nutrition and Hydration Week, the supplier supplied a spread of sentimental meals, similar to ice cream, milkshakes, and smoothies, to make sure residents with swallowing difficulties might additionally benefit from the objects on the menu. Ensuring all residents are included at meals-based mostly occasions is a precedence, says Milsted.

“When we have special events, we always make something different and we always have something that will help the residents feel included. We don’t want to exclude people because they have a problem swallowing. And we want it to look good. We don’t want it sitting on a plate looking like a lump of rubbish. We want it to look nice and we want people to be fed.”

Both employees and residents are benefiting from utilizing completely different strategies to current meals, such because the spoons, however the suggestions wasn’t essentially from the residents immediately, he says.

“First it was from the carers who feed the residents, who thought it was great. And then people were saying residents were eating more and they were gaining weight, so from the health perspective, that’s fantastic.”

A Lifeview resident consuming an ice cream

Food presentation is every part, says Milsted. “How food is presented is an important factor as to whether the person is going to eat it or not.” Techniques similar to utilizing an ice cream scoop for meat, greens and gravy “look hopeless and terrible,” he says.

Instead it’s about tips on how to current it in and what to current it in as a result of the purpose is for residents to eat actual meals, Milsted says.

“We want them to eat real food because that’s where the satisfaction levels come from. Residents enjoy the food and they’re happy because they’re well-fed and they get nutritional food. That makes a hell of a difference to the morale of the person and the morale of the home.”

Tools enhance meals supply

Aged care govt chef Deborah Cairney says guaranteeing residents with particular diets are effectively-fed and consuming nutritious meals can also be the purpose of Hunter Valley Care, which has 4 aged care services in regional New South Wales.

She and her colleagues use hospitality administration system Aged Care Genie to assist meet the meals-based mostly wants of residents and help with meal planning. Cairney says the cloud-based mostly device helps them to create customised recipes for residents with particular diets.

“When we put in our recipes, we link all the different diets, for instance gluten free, diabetic and residents who require pureed meals. And then the system allows us to identify all the different diets with those recipes,” Cairney tells AAA.

Deborah Cairney utilizing Aged Care Genie

“When a chef goes in and clicks on the recipe, they can see that this recipe has to be made for gluten free people, diabetics or any other type of diet,” she says.

The device has been instrumental in guaranteeing all residents, particularly those that require particular diets, are receiving appropriate vitamin ranges, says Cairney. 

“Each menu is done to incorporate resident choice as well as their allergies. So when I put recipes into the genie, it will show consistency and any errors. If the menu doesn’t have the nutritional value required, it will tell you that,” she says.

The program additionally helps with  buy management, and menu costing and a  inventory-taking function aids waste discount.

“Each recipe I put into the genie is costed and it is all portion controlled. Each item is weighed for the recipe and then it costs it all out. That’s where you can see the savings and whether or not that meal is going to be too expensive or has the right nutrition in it,” she says.

 “Since implementing the system here, my wastage has gone down by 50 per cent. We do stock-taking monthly or every three months depending on what the facility requires and it will show you what stock you have on the shelves or what is not being used, so we cut back there,” she says.

Cairney says her meals-associated prices have decreased by 25 per cent because the supplier first applied the device 18 months in the past. The device has additionally been useful for employees, who’ve been capable of simply work with the recipes. 

“If your main chef is sick, you can have someone come in and click on the genie and just know exactly what ingredients are required for that recipe and instructions on what to do.”

It’s improved the supply of meals to residents as a result of residents are getting the selection and selection they require, in addition to the best dietary values, she says.

“You know exactly what the residents are getting and the amount that they require to have for that meal in their proteins and carbohydrates and if they have any allergies. You have all that information there at hand.”

Another device supporting residents with particular dietary wants is Nutrition Professionals Australia’s benchtop information to vitamin care and therapeutic or particular diets often called Meal Plans for Older People.

Retirement dwelling and aged care supplier Aveo Group is amongst these utilizing the information to help the planning of nutritious based mostly menus for residents with particular diets. Linda Clarke, Aveo Group regional catering supervisor residential aged care services, says the meal planner helps present an understanding of the meals objects required for residents with particular diets.

“With modified meals, it helps to understand exactly what is expected, such as how much protein or carbohydrates we need to give them,” Clarke tells AAA.

Linda Clarke

“As the elderly get a bit more frail, it is important to incorporate the extra protein with our modified meals.” Popular modified meals embody milkshakes, porridge and desserts, she says.

Before utilizing the information, Aveo cooks had been utilizing “sheer luck” to help with their menu planning, says Clarke. Conversely, the benchtop information helps to supply good recipes for modified diets and helps Aveo to proceed prioritising chemical-free meals.

“We work very closely so we don’t bring in chemical provided proteins. We try use natural proteins and that has been a great help because they’ve provided us with quite a few good recipes,” Clarke says. “The benefit is mainly the fact is that there is not the chemical aftertaste left.”

Clarke says residents have reported the pure strategy tastes higher. “Because sometimes with the chemical-based ones, you put in porridge and it just it takes the taste away,” she says.

Clarke recommends the information as an especially useful to for supporting residents with particular diets. “It’s easy to follow and it’s something to go back to if you need any help or any recall.”

Main picture: Lifeview is piping pureed meals onto flat-bottomed spoons to make sure residents with swallowing difficulties don’t miss out.

This article first appeared in Australian Ageing Agenda journal (Jul-Aug 2020).

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