The full day meeting at the professionally equipped development kitchen was organised and arranged by IPA Purchasing and Bidfood. Both businesses supply quality food items to Hartford Care to ensure the menus are varied and nutritionally-balanced.
The day of training was delivered in two sessions.
The morning session was hosted by Hartford Care’s HR Director Leah Marie Mills to discuss the importance of healthy, high-quality home-cooking and the expectations for a dining experience.
The group of attendees’ discussed ways they can support residents with their health and wellbeing when it comes to nutrition and diet in 14 care home locations across the south. There was an opportunity to discuss the needs of residents who live with dementia and the ways taste buds, eyesight and diets can evolve over time.
Developing a complementary diet is highly important for residents to have variety and choice in their daily eating. Will Turner from IPA shared ideas with the chefs to explain the importance of planning and developing menus according to seasonal tastes.
Leah Marie Mills believes the training will provide an opportunity for staff to learn new food preparation techniques: Food is an essential part of life within our comfortable and nurturing care home environments. ‘This training session ensures that the team of exceptional chefs are equipped with the knowledge they need to make a positive difference to our residents’.
The practical afternoon session was delivered by Sean McArdle, an experienced care catering Chef who runs ‘Smooth Food Solutions’. As the Former Director of Service and Wellbeing for Helen McArdle Care, Sean was able to offer practical step by step guidance to prepare food according to the IDDSI framework.
The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) aims to develop standardised terminology and definitions to describe foods textures for individuals who have dysphagia.
The aim of this session focussed on preparing high quality, delicious and beautifully presented pureed foods, in moulds, according to the IDDSI framework. After the demonstration took place, the team of Hartford Care chefs cooked, prepared and presented the food with time left for tasting.
Sean explains the importance of the session: we cooked several fresh ingredients such as Chicken, Sausages, carrots, broccoli, butternut squash and fish. These ingredients helped us to create Chicken dinners, Sausage casserole, a curry and Fish chips for example. These ingredients are cooked in a liquid and additional stock can be added and blended to make a smooth consistency. This is then passed through a sieve and added to the pan to boil. I set up Smoothfood Solutions in 2016 because I have a passion for food, and it was obvious that more needed to be done for people who have swallowing difficulties. It is fantastic to see Hartford Care adopting these methods to make a difference. The obvious benefits include people eating more, but it also makes positive difference for the kitchen and care staff. Families of the residents will also see that their loved on is looked after by a company that is striving to provide the best care!’