Residents’ choice lunch program brings Forest Hill residents their favourite meals

Life enrichment and dietary departments work together to enhance quality mealtimes

A lunch program at Forest Hill started with a simple request in 2016. Some of the Ottawa-area long-term care home’s residents were craving club sandwiches and asked for them to be available on the lunch menu.

But the famed triple-decker toasted sandwich filled with turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato isn’t the easiest to produce for 160 people. On top of that, it’s not a meal everyone would be able to enjoy.

So life enrichment co-ordinator Craig Forrest and nutritional care manager Sharon Reid got together and created a residents’ choice lunch program, an idea Sharon came up with.

Each month a group of 10 to 15 residents selects a meal they want. Often the meal is something that’s normally too complicated to feed 160 people or has a texture which is restrictive to others.

Other meals that have been served since the program began include quesadillas; poutine (for Canada Day); steak, baked potatoes and sautéed vegetables; Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, Montreal-style steamed hot dogs and even a make-your-own pizza day.

The life enrichment staff will set up an area for the residents to dine in, and there will be decorations and music to go along with the theme of the meal.

For instance, on the day tacos were served, there were Mexican-themed decorations and Mexican music was played.

“It’s a program that a lot of our residents enjoy because it gives them a chance to have a meal they normally wouldn’t be able to have,” Craig says.

Food is an important quality indicator in long-term care homes. In addition to the residents’ choice lunch program, Forest Hill also offers the monthly Diner’s Club, which brings residents and their loved ones together to enjoy meals.

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