We have all heard the phrase 'an army marches on it's stomach' - well so does a care home.
Not only is good food in a care home fundamental to maintaining good health and wellbeing, but it is also the central event of the day. It brings people together in a relaxed and enjoyable way to take part in an activity that has been an important part of every day life, for their entire life.
There is surely no excuse for any care home to overlook this fundamental element of their care and social environment - and yet.
On a recent visit to a care home with a client we arranged to have lunch and look around the home. On my first visit I was impressed with the home and was keen to show it to my client.
Unfortunately the lunch let the home down enormously. I am going to list the events that were unnecessary and avoidable and has stopped me recommending the home to my client and any further clients;
- All of the residents, including us as visitors were seated at the dining tables 30 minutes before the food was expected to be served.
- The staff wore disposable rubber gloves and aprons to serve us, this was horrible and felt like we were in an institution for infectious diseases.
- The two choices that were available were beef stew, mashed potatoe and vegetables or Cornish pastie, mashed potatoe and vegetables. The beef stew consisted of meat that I couldn't cut, let alone eat. The mashed potatoe contained no butter or seasoning and was lumpy and the vegetables were frozen. The pastry on the Cornish pastie was too hard to cut and only the contents could be scooped out.
The desert consisted of apple pie and custard. The apples were without doubt tinned and the custard must have been 'add water' rather than milk - I have never seen opaque custard before. The entire meal was tasteless, without any nutritional value and partially inedible.
As I sat watching the staff serve the meal using a spoon and their fingers to scrape it onto the plate I wondered how many meals the resident ladies sitting in that room had cooked and served lovingly to their families over the years.
So I worked it out and the 30 ladies being served this rubbish have over the last 60 years, between them, cooked over 39 million meals.
The cost of this care home was £900 per week.
Please get in touch with Chosen with Care if you want to find care homes that recognise the benefit of 'Food Glorious Food'.
Now that my husband is beginning to settle into his care home, I wanted to write and thank you for all your help and expertise in finding a suitable care home for him at a time when I was finding life very difficult.
I do not think I could have managed without you. I appreciated your practical support in organising all the visits and even return visits with other members of my husband’s family.
Your knowledge of how to assess a home and to know what to look for in any assessment cut out hours of my time trying to understand reports, particularly at a time when I could not think straight. Your understanding of my emotional situation was a real blessing.
Although the care home we chose is not in my immediate neighbourhood, I am still convinced that it suits his needs and he will settle in well to this new environment.
To find an expert in the unchartered waters of care homes at a time of personal distress was wonderful.
Very many thanks.
With every good wish