There has been a lot of bad press of late about the food in Aged Care Centres. So today I went into one of the Serveries here at Wongaburra to see what the meals looked like on a typical day.
So this is a servery with most of the meals as assists. This means that the residents in that area need at least a little help with eating.
This servery also has great examples of the different types of textures that residents may need with their food. There are basically four levels of food textures; Regular, Soft, Minced & Moist, and Pureed. This seems simple enough, however it gets more complicated with some residents needing two different textures in their meal, with meat at one level and the vegetables another.
The other issue that the Servery staff need to always remember is the likes and dislikes of the individual residents.
Today was fish day being Friday, so it was Fish cakes and Chips with a salad.
Below are photos from lunch today with an explanation of what each includes;
This is the regular fish cake, chips and salad.
This is the same meal with the fish cake cut up, as some residents are not able to cut their food up for themselves.
This is a soft meal, served in a lipped ceramic bowl to enable a resident to feed themselves easily. This resident was sitting in the dining room.
This is a full minced and moist meal with vegetables (as the resident doesn't like chips) in a plastic lipped bowl, which is used for meals where the resident requires assistance, either in their room or in the dining room. The gravy is important to help with swallowing.
This meal has minced and moist vegetables, mashed potato and pureed fish, to meet the specific texture modification requirements of this resident. It is served in a lipped ceramic bowl so the resident is able to feed themselves easily whilst sitting in the dining room.
A full puree meal will have all parts of the meal served pureed and with gravy to aid with swallowing. It can be served on a lipped plate or in a bowl to assist with feeding either by the resident or with staff support.
A regular dessert, Berry self saucing pudding, which is also considered to be suitable for those requiring soft foods. The custard is not only there for flavour, but like the gravy in the main meal, is important in assisting with swallowing. For those requiring minced and moist or pureed meals, this dessert was blended or chopped up to give the required texture.
This is the gluten free alternative to today's berry self saucing pudding.
One resident likes to have sandwiches for every meal, she is on a soft diet. The photo above shows the sandwiches she was provided. To encourage her to eat other foods, she was also given small amount of cut up fish cake, mashed potato and some cut up vegetables in a bowl to allow her to easily feed herself.
This was just one meal on one day, and as can be seen it was served multiple ways to meet the specific allergy, medical requirements and likes of each resident. It may seem like a simple thing to do, but it is in fact a very complex process to ensure that the right food is given to the right resident at the right time.
The process starts with the Admissions Officer finding out what the needs and likes are of each incoming resident, then moves to the Care staff and particularly the RNs who work with the Speech Pathologist, Dietician and Doctor to set and maintain the Dietary Sheet for each resident. The Kitchen staff send the right food to each servery and then the Servery staff ensure that the requirements of those Dietary Sheets are met for each individual resident for each meal each day.
Wongaburra has just undergone it's three yearly Accreditation audit and achieved compliance on all of the Standards. This is because of the commitment by all staff to ensure that not only is the food of the highest standard, as can be seen by the photos above, all of our processes and services are as well.