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Nutrition and Catering reflections on 2023 and aspirations for 2024

2023 has been a year of great achievement for Nellsar’s Care Home Nutrition and Catering department.

Nutrition and Hydration Lead success

We started the year strong with the Nutrition and Hydration Lead role developing into a more established position within our Homes. As the year has gone on, we have welcomed a wealth of learning on how to make the nutrition and hydration support in our Homes ever more centred around resident well-being, colleague knowledge, working with external professionals and responding to the needs of those around us in a positive and holistic way.

This year I am pleased to announce that our Nutrition and Hydration Leads, Katja, Allann, Adelina and Eddi each completed their Level 3 Diplomas in Diet and Nutrition. This is a wonderful achievement and shows how dedicated they are to their work.

Nutrition & Hydration Week

In March our Homes embraced Nutrition & Hydration Week which was a delightful display of celebrating and acknowledging the importance of food and drink for health and wellbeing. Our fantastic Recreation and Well-Being Teams took the lead in making the week a colourful and engaging success.

Nellsar Care and Cookery Book

This summer, who can forget the launch of the ‘Nellsar Care and Cookery Book‘ which showcased Head Chef Cosmin’s skill and techniques for creating delicious dishes for residents. I am so happy to have been involved in this project by giving tips and advice on the benefits of the dishes. The book also contained articles form me on Nutritional Therapy at Nellsar – how I have worked to benefit our Homes, the importance of hydration, digestive health and how to improve it, nutrition for the elderly and important food groups, and a piece on Dementia supportive dining.

Care and Cookery Book

Nutritional articles and speaking opportunities

Speaking of articles, this year I was delighted to have two articles published; one in The Carer Magazine on the importance of empowering carers to tackle dehydration and malnutrition through awareness and education and the other in the Caring Times on how to manage diabetes in a social care setting.

In June I was very fortunate to be asked to be a guest speaker at The Care Home and Hospital & Catering Forum in London where I spoke about improving appetite through presentation and dining environments.

Menopause awareness

As the year flew into the autumn and made its way to October, Nellsar made its first steps to becoming a Menopause friendly organisation by celebrating World Menopause Day. There is much more to come on this next year but for now I am very pleased to say that it is a topic which is very much embraced by our teams. We have exciting times ahead so ‘watch this space‘ for more regarding peri and menopause support.

Menopause Awareness

End of life care

My role of nutrition and wellbeing is varied and reaches all life stages, including end of life. For the last six months I have been involved in a course with the GSF – the Gold Standard Framework – and learning how to support our Homes with end of life care.

This is a delicate but crucial part of our care; making life as comfortable as possible if a person is at the end stages of life is of the utmost importance to us at Nellsar, and I’ve been gaining knowledge on how nutrition, hydration and wellbeing can be woven into helping residents, loved ones and teams feel supported and comfortable in this time.

Aspirations for 2024

Looking ahead, plans are already in place for further peri and menopause support throughout 2024.

March will see the return of Nutrition & Hydration Week raising awareness of malnutrition and dehydration in the elderly. You will also see me contributing to The Gold Standard Framework End of Life Care support which is a valuable and worthy accreditation.

I have exciting plans with the East and West Kent SLT and Dietetics teams to incorporate Nellsar into their work helping to develop their services for care homes across Kent. Not to mention my work with our Care Home Chefs and Catering Teams – I love to support and help their development to meet best practice for person-centred nutrition and hydration.

Next year I also look forward to inviting Nellsar’s Nutrition and Hydration Leads to join me in the Regional NACC Seminars to further their knowledge in care home nutrition and care home catering.

….2023 has been a full and vibrant year and my feeling is this is going to continue into 2024!