The Importance of Balanced and Nutritious Diets in Nursing Homes

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Balanced and Nutritious Diet

Bristol Care Homes Discussing the Importance of Balanced and Nutritious Diets in Nursing Homes

There are many different things that contribute to a Nursing or Care Home providing high-quality, professional and nurturing care and one of these is the importance of providing varied, healthy, balanced and nutritious food for all their residents. At Bristol Care Homes our food preparation, menu options and nutrition is a priority for us and we understand the importance of balanced and nutritious diets in our Nursing Homes. We provide all our residents with freshly prepared, varied and nutritional food (as well as some treats) ensuring they are happy, fit and remain healthy, both physically and mentally. All our food is freshly prepared on-site by our qualified chefs who all attend Level 3 Training in Techniques for Producing a Varied, Balanced and Nutritional Menu and High-quality Food in a Presentable way, whilst always adhering to every resident’s dietary requirements.

As we age, our needs and requirements change and a good, varied, balanced and nutritious diet, along with keeping active can help to prevent potential health problems both physically and mentally, playing a vital role in ageing well. Meals and snacks are an important part of everyone’s day and it is particularly important in care and nursing home environments. Mealtimes offer structure and familiarity to residents days, they are something they look forward to and it provides an opportunity for good and natural social interaction, whilst eating balanced and nutritious, enjoyable food. Some residents will have specific health and nutritional needs and it is vitally important that care and nursing homes offer variety and nutrition for every one of their residents.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have fundamental standards that Care and Nursing Homes must adhere to and these standards include food & drink.

What is the Care Quality Commission (CQC)?

The Quality Care Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

Their purpose is to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care by monitoring, inspecting and regulating health and social care services, encouraging care services to improve. They publish what they find which includes ratings to help people choose their care service supplier.

What is their role?

  • Registering care providers
  • Monitoring inspecting and rating care services
  • Taking action to protect people who use care services
  • Speaking with independently and publishing views on major quality issues in health and social care

What do they do?

  • Protect the rights of vulnerable people, including those restricted under the Mental Health Act.
  • Listen to and act on your experiences.
  • Involve the public and people who receive care
  • Work with other organisations and public groups.

What are their values?

  • Excellence – being a high-performing organisation
  • Caring – treating everyone with dignity and respect
  • Integrity – doing the right thing
  • Teamwork – learning from each other to be the best we can

What is their vision?

A more targeted, responsive and collaborative approach to regulation so more people get high-quality care.

The Care Quality Commission Fundamental Standards include Food & Drink Standards

Everybody in care has the right to expect the following standards:

Person-Centred Care – You must have care or treatment that is tailored to you and meets your needs and preferences.

Dignity and Respect – You must be treated with dignity and respect at all times while you’re receiving care and treatment.

This includes making sure:

  • You have privacy when you need and want it.
  • Everybody is treated as equals.
  • You’re given any support you need to help you remain independent and involved in your local community.

Consent – You (or anybody legally acting on your behalf) must give your consent before any care or treatment is given to you.

Safety – You must not be given unsafe care or treatment or be put at risk of harm that could be avoided. Providers must assess the risks to your health and safety during any care or treatment and make sure their staff have the qualifications, competence, skills and experience to keep you safe.

Safeguarding from Abuse – You must not suffer any form of abuse or improper treatment while receiving care.

This includes:

  • Neglect
  • Degrading treatment
  • Unnecessary or disproportionate restraint
  • Inappropriate limits on your freedom.
  • Food and drink

Food and Drink – You must have enough to eat and drink to keep you in good health while you receive care and treatment.

Premises and Equipment – The places where you receive care and treatment and the equipment used in it must be clean, suitable and looked after properly. The equipment used in your care and treatment must also be secure and used properly.

Complaints – You must be able to complain about your care and treatment. The provider of your care must have a system in place so they can handle and respond to your complaint. They must investigate it thoroughly and take action if problems are identified.

Good Governance – The provider of your care must have plans that ensure they can meet these standards. They must have effective governance and systems to check on the quality and safety of care. These must help the service improve and reduce any risks to your health, safety and welfare.

Staffing – The provider of your care must have enough suitably qualified, competent and experienced staff to make sure they can meet these standards. Their staff must be given the support, training and supervision they need to help them do their job.

Fit and Proper Staff – The provider of your care must only employ people who can provide care and treatment appropriate to their role. They must have strong recruitment procedures in place and carry out relevant checks such as on applicants’ criminal records and work history.

Duty of Candour – The provider of your care must be open and transparent with you about your care and treatment. Should something go wrong, they must tell you what has happened, provide support and apologise.

Display of Ratings – The provider of your care must display their CQC rating in a place where you can see it. They must also include this information on their website and make our latest report on their service available to you.

Balanced and Nutritious DietWhat is the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation?

The implementation of the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework is a global standard to describe texture modified foods and thickened drinks for individuals who have swallowing (dysphagia) difficulties of all ages and in all care settings which is why it is extremely important for all nursing and care homes to be fully trained and experts in this area. The IDDSI framework improves patient safety and standardises terminology enabling care settings to familiarise themselves with, learn and ensure they follow the guidelines in a clear and informed way.

Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties. Some people with dysphagia have problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, whilst others aren’t able to swallow at all. The signs of dysphagia can include; coughing or choking when eating or drinking, bringing food up, which is sometimes through the nose.

‘Dysphagia’ can be caused by varying factors including:

  • Abnormality in the oesophagus
  • Obstruction from external compression
  • A stricture or difficulty in initiating the swallowing process
  • Solids and liquids not moving out of the mouth properly

Dysphagia tends to increase in likelihood for people with the following conditions and this is why Nursing and Care Homes should be experts in it; dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, head and neck cancers, motor neurone disease, brain injuries and learning disabilities.

Symptoms and complications are varied in extremeness and seriousness including; coughing, hoarseness, discomfort, pain, inability to control food or saliva, drooling, weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition, chest infections, aspiration pneumonia, choking and even death

Thicker liquids can often help people with dysphagia as it improves the control of the movement of a food bolus, allowing more time for the closing of the entrance to the trachea (windpipe) thus reducing the risk of aspiration. Aspiration is when you are breathing foreign objects into your airways which is usually food, saliva, or stomach contents when you swallow, vomit, or when experiencing heartburn. A lot of the time aspiration doesn’t cause symptoms but there may be a sudden cough as the lungs try to clear out the substance which why the texture modifying foods and thickening drinks for individuals who have swallowing difficulties is imperative and can be lifesaving.

Bristol Care Homes Balanced and Nutritious Meals

At Bristol Care Homes we understand that good food and hydration along with how much and what you eat and drink not only affects your weight but it also influences your mood, concentration levels, how you feel and your general well-being, so we ensure all our residents have the right nutrition and hydration as a fundamental aspect of their holistic care with us.

Our food preparation, menu options and nutrition is a priority for us and we understand the importance of balanced and nutritious diets in our Nursing Homes. We provide all our residents with freshly prepared, varied and nutritional food (as well as some treats) ensuring they are happy, fit and remain healthy, both physically and mentally.

We use fresh, quality ingredients and all our meals are freshly prepared on-site by our qualified chefs to ensure we meet the needs of every resident and any specific dietary requirements. We prepare menus which change weekly so our residents have a varied diet and can see the meal options available to them and these are compiled and assessed for their nutritional values.

Every resident is offered a hearty breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon tea and an evening meal. Our meals and snacks are at regular times every day and this gives our residents a structure to their day and social interaction that they can look forward to. It is well known that eating a nutritious diet helps you maintain healthy body weight and a healthy heart as well as reducing the risk of developing some chronic diseases. Research has found that the food you eat can also affect your mood and mental health and this is sometimes referred to as the “food-mood connection. There is also research which shows there is a huge benefit of eating with others which does more than just feed a person physically; it also gives them an emotional connection and promotes and allows good and happy conversations to take place. We prefer that residents eat together at mealtimes, however, residents can choose to eat in their own rooms if they want to, however, this isn’t something we encourage due to the massive benefits of eating together.

Our team are highly-trained which ensures every resident’s individual needs are understood and met. We ask our residents for feedback for the food we prepare and serve so we can continuously adapt our menus and provide diverse and interesting food choices for everyone.

We celebrate birthdays with cake and a happy birthday to make everyone feel special and we have themed suppers which all of our residents love and look forward to.

To ensure that every resident’s needs are met we produce quality, varied, appetising, enriched, balanced and nutritious meals to the same high standards for those residents who need to ensure they have enough calories and nutrients but who may have smaller appetites, as well as those who suffer from dysphagia who have difficulty eating or swallowing food so their food texture needs modifying.

Residents who only eat some of the food offered can be at risk of losing weight and this can have a serious impact on their health and well-being so we ensure we enrich their food for those who need it to provide the correct amount of calories and nutrients in a smaller portion of food.

Some of our residents require a level of texture modification in their food and we can accommodate ‘soft diets’ where the food is soft enough and just mashed by a fork still retaining some texture or a completely pureed diet free from any lumps where the food has a smooth and even texture. All of these are still appetising and delicious for those residents.

Bristol Care Homes are experts in the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation and follow a bespoke process for all residents who have been diagnosed, or for any residents who show any signs of it, whilst still providing Balanced and Nutritious meals for every resident in their care.

  • All residents who need a thickener have an appropriate assessment
  • Residents that need thickeners have care plans for dysphagia with the current consistency recommendations recorded
  • They are only used for residents who have it prescribed for
  • All staff, including kitchen staff who prepare foods, are fully trained in the use of thickeners
  • All medicines are thickened if needed
  • The use of thickeners is recorded and monitored for each resident
  • Our staff know how to spot the warning symptoms and signs of dysphagia

About Bristol Care Homes

We are an independent group of 4 high-quality Care Homes located in 4 different locations within Bristol and we are dedicated to providing high-quality, professional, caring and individual passionate care services every day. Our vision is to provide excellence in all aspects of care for all our residents.

Our care service leads the way in care home provision and our Care Quality Commission Ratings are:

Glebe House – Outstanding Glebe House Care Home Bristol CQC

Beech House – Outstanding Beech House Care Home Bristol CQC

Field House – Good Field House Care Home Bristol CQC

Quarry House – Good Quarry House Care Home Bristol CQC

We are always looking to be innovative in our services and we offer many features which will help you or your loved one to keep their independence and have fulfilment in life. Our services lead the way in care home provision and many are unique to Bristol Care Homes including:

  • Beautiful gardens with plenty of greenery, trees and flowers
  • Environmentally designed buildings with 24/7 air circulation always keeping the atmosphere fresh and airy
  • Spacious rooms with increased ceiling height gives the feel of openness
  • Wide corridors for ease of access
  • Television, DVD Player and direct line telephones in each room
  • Internet access in residents rooms
  • Customised top quality wheelchairs provided when needed
  • High technology baths and walk-in showers
  • Minibus services with a regular schedule of trips
  • Regular maintenance and replacement cycles of new carpets and decoration
  • Top Quality chefs producing tasty, varied, balanced and nutritious meals which can be eaten in the comfort of your room if required
  • Programme of interesting and stimulating activities for all our residents
  • Nurses on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Contact us today to find out more about our nursing homes, the services we offer, our balanced and nutritious diets and how we can help you or your loved one.

Quotes from the Residents & Staff here:

‘It’s very comfortable here and all the staff are extremely good. There are lots of activities and there are plenty of opportunities to socialise and make friends. Its so easy for my family to visit too”

“The home is in a beautiful setting and the staff are extremely kind. They make sure I’m all right but they also allow me to live my own life. I like going out on trips and enjoy having meals in my room too”

“The whole team have been brilliant and I would like to pass on my gratitude to all”

“We have a great team here, everyone helps each other and the residents can really see this. We are like one big family”

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