Nutrition tops nation’s care home priorities

Food and nutrition is one of the top factors family and friends consider when choosing a care home for loved ones, according to new research from Bidvest Foodservice.

The survey, commissioned to mark Nutrition and Hydration Week, 13-19 March, found that 85% of respondents felt the food offered at a care home is important. Just under half (44%) stated an organisation’s nutrition policy is a key part of the decision-making process – second only to location and travel time.  

The findings show that nearly three quarters (70%) of those who took part would recommend a care home based on the implementation of its nutritional policy. And factors such as quality of food, ability to cater for special dietary requirements and the idea of a home-cooked meal, were all highlighted as elements that contribute to a more positive living environment as well.

Vicky Mogford, healthcare marketing manager at Bidvest Foodservice commented: “Recent studies found that upon entry to a care home, 35% of residents are at risk of malnutrition. Diminishing appetite, digestive problems, difficulty swallowing and even specific conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s can all contribute to poor nutritional intake among elderly diners.

“With an ageing population, and an ever-more nutritionally aware society, ensuring loved ones are looked after in terms of food provision can have a real impact on care home choice, quality of life for residents and the organisation’s reputation. We hope our new research will help raise awareness of the issues in line with Nutrition and Hydration Week’s global initiative.”

The survey is the first in a series of events being held by Bidvest Foodservice to mark the week. Other activities include a Big Breakfast, in association with Kelloggs and a Saturday Social in partnership with Nestlé Professional.

Andy Jones, chair of the PS100 Group and former chair of the Hospital Caterers Association added: “Correct nutrition and hydration is a vital part of providing good care for vulnerable and ill people. What’s more, the right food and drink can enhance a patient’s or resident’s experience as well as playing a part in their care and wellbeing – irrespective of their length of stay.”

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