Care home menu planning service launched

The Food Services Specialist Group and Older People Specialist Group of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) have launched the Care Home Digest – the first menu planning and food service guideline for care homes – in collaboration with the National Association of Care Catering (NACC).

The guidelines aim to support residential and nursing care homes to provide appropriate food and drink for residents in their care.

The Care Home Digest is the first of its kind, providing menu planning and food service guidelines to support care homes, to provide high quality food and drink services for residents. No such resource currently exists in England and this document should complement existing dietetic guidelines available in the other nations of the UK.

The overall food and dining experience can have a huge impact on quality of life for residents and is often one of the highlights of the daily routine. Undernutrition, dehydration and other nutrition related health concerns, which often impact those living in care or residential homes, mean that providing appropriate and appetising meals that meet nutritional requirements can be more challenging.

With many care homes unable to access a food service dietitian service, the Care Home Digest allows homes to access the information to support them to plan nutritionally balanced and appropriate menus to meet both the nutritional needs and preferences of their residents.

By having a clear set of standards and guidance that provides consistency and clarity in the approach for eating and drinking in care homes, managers, nurses, care and support staff and caterers will better understand what they should be providing as part of their overall food service.

Helen Ream, healthcare and food service dietitian at Compass Group UK & Ireland and vice-chair of the BDA’s Food Services Specialist Group said: “The Care Home Digest builds on the work of the BDA’s Nutrition and Hydration Digest, a resource for all those involved in the provision of food and drink services in hospitals and which forms part of the National Standards for Healthcare Food and Drink. Until now, no similar national food service standards have existed to support care homes for older adults to meet the nutritional needs of their residents. We hope these guidelines will be widely used and become a nationally trusted resource in the same way.”

The Care Home Digest 

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