What a year 2022 has been for Nutrition and Wellness across Nellsar Care Homes
We have seen an acceleration in projects and development this year compared to the survival mode of the previous two years of the pandemic. As we all became more used to finding our feet at the beginning of the year and being with each other again, the potential for possibility came with it.
At the start of the year, Nellsar’s Head of Catering Services Adrian Silaghi and I ran an 8-week refresher programme for our Catering Staff which included topics on special diets such as Dysphagia, Diabetes, Malnutrition and Fortification.
I also went into Homes to carry out coaching sessions in person which was fantastic, and from there more and more Home visits began to fill the diary again.
Our Catering Teams have been doing a wonderful job this year and I can see a shift in the quality of food and food service across the company. We are more person-centred than ever and our Home Managers are supportive of their teams and the development of their hospitality and food services.
This year has also seen the start of a new role within the Homes – the Nutrition Lead. This is a position which offers a member of staff, who has been identified as passionate and person-centred, protected time to lead the improvement of nutrition and hydration within their Home for their residents.
Our very first Nutrition Lead was Katja at Lulworth House Residential Care Home who has piloted this role for the last three years and done an amazing job so far. Katja knows each resident well and understands their food and drink preferences. She has been able to build connections and support the nutrition within the Home. Katja has links with the Dietetic Team and Speech and Language Therapist. She is also the link for families with regards to their loved one’s eating and drinking. Katja ensures the communication between the clinical and catering teams is clear and consistent, and that all allergens, special diets and GP or dietician advisories are being followed.
Our Nutrition and Dementia Lead at Princess Christian Care Home, Adelina, has also been working for the last two years on implementing change and improving the service, supporting residents with Dementia within the Home. This year we have been able to feel and see the positive changes Adelina’s dedication has brought for those living with Dementia in her care.
Towards the latter part of this year I have had the pleasure of inducting more Nutrition Leads across our Homes who are taking on more responsibilities. I will be introducing them all in the new year, so watch this space!
This year, the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Care Catering Forum in Nottingham reopened its doors for care home catering specialists. Adrian and I went with the Head Chef from Abbotsleigh Care Home for the 2-day event. The forum is a great networking opportunity, providing a chance to learn what’s new in the industry. It is the second time Adrian and I have represented Nellsar at the event and there is always something useful to bring back to Nellsar to enhance the services for our residents.
On a more personal note, I have been very honoured to have been nominated for two awards this year; The Care Innovator category for the Great British Care Awards and The Wellbeing at Work category for Women Achieving Greatness in Social Care. To be a finalist for both awards is a huge achievement and shows how my work as a Nutritional Therapist in the social care space has made a difference. My driving force is to support the nutrition and well-being of all those living and working within our Homes, with a holistic and truly caring approach.
Next year there are lots of projects and plans in place to continue our work to ensure the service, quality and fabulous food continues to get better and better!