By Evelyn Newman, NHS Highland Nutrition and Dietetics Advisor for care home
I wonder how often, if ever, you consider inviting service users or relatives to join in with staff learning and development sessions? That’s just what Colin Murdoch, manager of Seaforth house care home did recently. He would recommend others do the same and improve the richness of discussions, sharing views and co-producing food and drink choices of care home mealtimes.
We all feel able to share our views about the food we are served, how things taste and what might be good for us don’t we? Why should residents and staff not find common ground in conversation, answering questions and dodging forfeits? Using The Dysphagia and Communication games generated lots of discussion and shared learning, as staff and service users enjoyed a few fun afternoons playing educational games. The resulting feedback demonstrates that this helped both parties understand why special diets were important and enabled them to discuss why it was important for some residents to eat a different texture.
Care homes are not institutions, they are peoples’ homes and those people have rich histories, experiences and insights, which are worth understanding and exploring.
It’s all too easy to just walk past residents, without really thinking or knowing about them or their backgrounds. It’s important that we take time to sit and engage with them, finding out more about them and listening to their views about where they live. Read more about one lady who shared her story with me by clicking on the link below.