Resident engagement and using fresh ingredients are top of mind for Willows Estate’s new NCM

‘I always take time to hear residents’ needs,’ says Jeffrey Peters

There are two things Jeffrey Peters has kept top of mind since becoming Willows Estate’s nutritional care manager (NCM) in April: engaging residents to ensure meals are of the highest quality and using fresh ingredients to create from-scratch meals that taste great.

Mealtimes are often the most important part of a resident’s day; this is something Jeffrey knows well from his six years of working in long-term care and retirement homes.

And this is why since becoming the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s NCM Jeffrey has made a point of spending as much time as he can speaking with residents.

He says he wants to be involved with every aspect of residents’ dining experience to ensure it’s of the highest standard.

“I make sure that my presence is always present – even when I have (other work to do), I go in (the dining room) and ask if there’s anything the residents need; I find out their likes, their dislikes,” he tells The OMNIway.

To ensure quality meals are always being served, Jeffrey says compliments and criticism are equally important.

If a resident does not enjoy a stew, for example, Jeffrey will ask them what it was they didn’t like about the stew. Perhaps it needed more meat or more vegetables. Whatever input the resident can offer will be considered when preparing the stew next time.

“I get those ideas and I put them together and then I create a better and more effective meal for the residents,” he says.

As important as it is to engage residents to keep the standard of meals high, it’s also important to use fresh, quality ingredients, Jeffrey says.

Shortly after becoming NCM, Jeffrey began focusing on creating more from-scratch menu options made with fresh ingredients.

For example, residents enjoy melon, so Jeffrey has been ordering fresh melon. Other items are now being made from scratch, including soups, potato salad and five-bean salad.

When residents’ choice meals are coming up, Jeffrey engages residents to discover what they want – and from fresh fish to lamb to burgers, he and his team will create those meals.

“I always take time to hear residents’ needs,” he says.

This approach has worked well, Jeffrey says.

“So far, everybody has been happy. The No. 1 thing is the residents want to be heard. I respect that, and that’s what I give them.”

– More to come

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