OMNI homes put ‘plating with pride’ into practice

Village Green nutritional care manager Miranda Ray stands with dietary team members, holding a plate of pureed turkey, mashed potatoes and carrots.

Nutritional care staff’s creativity impacting appetites

From serving a pureed carrot in the actual shape of a carrot to piping chocolate cheesecake dessert into an edible “tulip,” OMNI Health Care nutritional care team members are becoming increasingly creative in the kitchen.

By serving food that looks especially visually appealing, residents are enticed to dig in and consume more calories, the homes report.

The Village Green nutritional care team recently introduced pureed meat and vegetables that are shaped like the real thing, and it’s having a positive impact on meal intake.

The Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents who receive pureed diets are finding their meals more alluring, says nutritional care manager Miranda Ray.

Aside from being more visually appealing to residents, being served purees that look like regular meals restores dignity in dining because people who receive purees are sitting with people who aren’t – and the different meals get noticed and residents feel singled out.

“By doing this, it has been beneficial for improving people’s intake and having them feel better about what they are eating.”

Staff members have been on board with the shaped purees and they’re coming up with ideas such as buying food-shaped moulds and pureeing food themselves to freeze into the moulds.

“We do a fantastic job with the flavour of the meals, but we are adding garnishes and little things to make food more visually appealing because we do eat with our eyes first,” she says.

Rosebridge Manor, OMNI’s Jasper long-term care home, recently hosted a Valentine’s Day luncheon featuring a special menu, including a fancy cheesecake dessert served in a tulip shape.

“One resident said ‘I didn’t think you could top Christmas but you did,’” notes nutritional care manager Kori Bigelow.

Managers served the meal – which consisted of baby back ribs, garlic cheddar potatoes and steamed veggies, along with the dessert, to residents.

Meanwhile, at Forest Hill, life enrichment and dietary departments are working 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.

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.

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