Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Home-style dining has become Ideal
Residents of the Skilled Nursing Facility at UHS Senior Living at Ideal are dining in style these days, ever since a new decentralized food service program
launched with the start of the new year.
The new approach creates a more pleasant, home-like atmosphere for the dining experience, said Maria Motsavage, president and chief executive officer of Ideal. The new system eliminates the use of plastic food trays.
"Mealtime is now much more enjoyable, both for the residents and for the staff who serve the food," Maria said. "It’s so much more home-like to have your meal served on plates instead of trays. It
makes it feel more like home. We are getting very positive feedback.”
The idea for the change came from Chris Waters, director of Food & Nutrition, who refers to the new approach as "decentralized dining."
With this method of providing food services, several steps in the process are moved out of the central kitchen and to a residential unit.
Instead of delivering a cart of individual trays of food to the unit, food service staff now bring large containers of food, so that the nursing staff can fill each patient’s plate on the spot.
Before the food arrives, food service employees set the tables with silverware and beverages.
“It’s a nicer atmosphere and the food temperature remains more stable.” Chris said. “Also, we are definitely working more efficiently with the new
To make it run smoothly, the unit was renovated to create a serving area that has space for a full-sized refrigerator, as well as a serving area for a microwave, coffee pot and juice machine. The dining area was spruced up with new tables, draperies and blinds.
The more pleasant, home-like, group-dining experience can encourage some patients who typically eat in their rooms to come to the dining room for meals and socializing.
And Chris and Maria say that decentralized dining has led to more interaction between the food service staff and the residents, as the staff members spend more time on the unit setting tables, distributing the food and talking with residents.
“We see the staff developing friendships and camaraderie with the residents, and that’s an invaluable benefit,” Maria said. “Also the cooperation between the nursing staff and the food service staff has been phenomenal. It has improved the mealtime experience for everyone.”