Residents with dysphagia, a condition which makes it difficult to swallow regular food and drink, have had mealtimes transformed, thanks to a new initiative at specialist care village, Belong Atherton, on Mealhouse Lane.
Led by the village’s Bistro and Catering Manager, Christine Thomas, the project is seeing the creation of an extensive new range of appetising, reconstituted pureed meals, presented using moulds so that their appearance is indistinguishable from ‘normal’ food.
The results have been celebrated at an afternoon tea with family and friends, where residents with dysphagia were treated to cakes, desserts and sandwiches that looked and tasted like regular food.
The Belong Atherton Activity Coordinator, Gemma Willetts, said: “Eating is such a focal part of life and it’s something we all take for granted, so it can have a devastating effect when that ability is limited due to the nerve or muscle damage associated with dysphagia.
“The new approach to creating reconstituted meals is having a huge impact on quality of life and this was obvious at our recent afternoon tea. One resident was able to pick up and eat a regular tasting and looking sandwich for the first time in a really long time, which was amazing to witness.”
Food that is prepared for individuals with dysphagia is available every day at Belong Atherton; residents can chose from a selection of options in both the village’s households and Bistro at each meal.
The project has also seen all staff members trained to increase their understanding of dysphagia.