Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2014 Contents Preparing hot toast is a simple
task occurring daily in houses
across Australia. However, in
aged care, it is considered a
near impossible task -- much to
the disappointment of residents.
What started as a way to give residents
what they wanted -- hot toast for breakfast
-- has turned into a daily morning and
evening self-serve buffet of hot and cold
food for residents of Southern Cross Care
Victoria's Dandenong home.
"It's just like being at home -- I can
make a sandwich the way I like it," says
resident Olga Demello. Fellow resident
Don Cameron goes one step further: "It's
better than opening the fridge at home
and getting what you want. Here there are
so many different foods to choose from -- I
just take what I want," he says.
Behind the buffet service is facility
manager Beverley Stehn, who was looking
for a way to solve the hot toast dilemma.
After consultation with residents and
catering, lifestyle and care staff, they began
a trial in February 2013. Following its
success, and with support, ideas and drive
from the head chef, they launched a similar
service for dinner three months later.
The buffet meal services "have just
blown our socks off," says Stehn. Residents
are eating, exercising, communicating,
interacting, and getting involved with
menu design more than ever, she says.
"You see people who had difficulty
walking over to the buffet initially and
pouring drinks who now do it quite naturally
and people doing things that before they
would never have done, such as social
interaction and assisting fellow residents."
The morning and evening buffets are
offered seven days a week and attract
18 to 22 residents. While it is self-serve,
there is always somebody there to
supervise, assist and monitor, Stehn says.
The latest addition to the breakfast
service is eggs cooked on demand any
way the residents want, say Stehn, who
adds she is often the one at the pan. Other
items on offer in the morning typically
include three kinds of bread, muffins or
croissants, three types of fruit and fruit
juice, plus a variety of spreads including
peanut butter, honey and jams, Stehn says.
"We have had to increase the amount of
raison loaf because residents just love it."
Dinner started out with salads and
sandwiches. But after realising much more
food was needed, it has grown to include
antipasto, salami, cheese, ham, fish,
tomato, cucumber, lettuce, strassburg plus
semi-regular dishes like a seafood salad or
meatballs, for example, Stehn explains.
The smorgasbord, as she calls it, offers
hot dishes plated on demand. And the key
to service is variety, she says. "There is
always something a little bit different on
the menu each night. And the men just
love it. They took to it like duck to water."
Cook and author Maggie Beer is
passionate about food and its ability
to nourish the soul. She says it makes
absolute sense to consider how food is
delivered to ensure residents get the most
out of it. "It is so important; equal to the
food itself," Beer tells AAA.
"The difference in our state of mind
contributes in a very real way to how well
we chew our food, how well we digest our
food and therefore the nutrients we actually
uptake from each meal. Creating a pleasant
environment with signs of obvious care for
the meal that is being served has such an
impact on the person receiving that meal."
And it is not just the residents who
benefit, says Beer. "Offering a meal is one
of the best forms of nurturing someone,
so it's a very real chance for the staff and
residents to connect with each other
each day. And the added bonus is the
pride the staff have in offering something
cooked with love. It sets up such a positive
reaction for everyone."
ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW
Debra Riedel, quality manager at Andrew
Kerr Aged Care Complex, which is located
on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, agrees
their food program benefits staff and
Theirs is based on special menus which
occur at least monthly. They involve
residents and staff and are often paired
with activities facilitated by lifestyle staff.
In November, for example, there was a
race-day lunch, a finger-food luncheon
at residents' request for Remembrance
commemorations, and a barbeque for
International Men's Day, Riedel explains.
Food and nutrition
While the nutritious
value of food is
paramount to an
aged care resident's
health, the way it is
served can be just as
Egan learns after
speaking to a few
providers putting an
extra focus on food
Southern Cross Care Victoria resident Olga Demello says the
buffet service enables her to make sandwiches to her liking.
54 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2014 | AAA
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