Dietary and Care Guidelines
Hi, I am Dennis, the Executive Chef at Arnold House Nursing Home. As an Executive Chef I can tell you from my experience food is very important for love ones. The food has to be flavorful, nutritional, presentable and meet the dietary and long term care guidelines for your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask the admission person these important questions:
- Can I get a copy of the menu?
- Are there any budget constraints?
- Do you have special events dealing with food?
- Is it okay to stay for lunch?
- Is there a dietician and speech therapist available?
- What if my loved one would like a snack at any time?
- Can I see the dining room?
Cooking from Scratch
I can’t tell you how important it is for the food to be flavorful. I always look for recipes that contain fresh herbs and spices. You know it is scratch cooking when you see fresh herbs and vegetables being used. Fresh produce is also a big key for me here at the Arnold House. We have a produce purveyor (Sid Wainer ), that will deliver twice a day if needed to provide the special requests of residents (fig jelly, prunes, coconut milk and any other specialties). We also use two food purveyors (Gordons and Sysco), not because of budget constraints but which purveyor can provide the better quality of product that I need (fresh seafood, prime quality of beef). Your loved one will know if the haddock is fresh or frozen. At Arnold House Nursing Home we only use fresh caught fish.
Nutritional is another key to look for. There are Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines that need to be followed. I always try to sell them on fruit in the morning. We offer a choice of different fresh fruit each morning and use 100 percent juices. Hydration is very important. I meet with the dietician constantly to check weight loss and anything else that has to do with a loved one. If the food is flavorful and presented right, there should not be any problem with meeting their individual needs at Arnold House Nursing Home.
Food presentation is very important. I can’t tell you how many times I see residents looking at the food and commenting on the wonderful aromas. They also have no problem letting you know if something is not right. It’s like watching one of those food shows on TV. I enjoy asking the residents how the food is, it’s always good to talk to them so you can correct any issue immediately. I treat them like I would want to be treated.
The needs of the resident are something we strive for at Arnold House Nursing Home. My philosophy is that if you give them what they like, then there will be no problems. Sometimes the resident looks for that special comfort food item that is not too healthy. I’ll talk to the dietician to make sure there is no problem and offer it. I can’t tell you how many times a loved one would ask for peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese sandwich. I have a little trick when I offer them a peanut butter sandwich, for a side I give them fresh fruit, when serving a grilled cheese sandwich, I try to put a soft vegetable in it. I try to put some nutritional value in each sandwich. I always meet with the loved one’s family to discuss their dislikes and likes. Many times, I invite them to stay for lunch and enjoy a meal.
Meal Times and Snacks
Who doesn’t like breakfast when they sleep in? The first meal of the day is so important. It is the best time for them to consume calories. This is where a Bistro Menu works so well. We offer a choice of eggs, pancakes, pastries and breakfast meat. At Arnold House Nursing Home, each resident breakfast is cooked to order. When the resident arrives in the dining room, they choose from the menu and then one of our chefs prepares their entrée and serves it hot. Bistro Menus also help at night. We offer a third choice, (shrimp scampi, baked haddock, choice of sandwiches). The snack cart is so crucial for the residents especially if they have low blood sugar or they are just hungry. We try to switch things up by offering a savory or sweet snack.
Special Events and Holidays
Special events and holidays are another important thing to think about. When you have Christmas dinner at your home, is it well decorated? Are you going to have a meal with all the holiday traditions? We always go the extra mile for this. I enjoy spending my holidays here at the Arnold House with the residents. I love it when a resident thanks you for an excellent dinner, or you tell a family member we are serving filet mignon or baked lobster tail, the expression is priceless! The activities director also gets her hand into the food aspects. We offer activities from decorating cookies to making apple pie. We even celebrate special occasions like Chinese New Year to the opening day of baseball.
Finally, I hope these answered all your questions about the nutritional aspects of choosing a skilled nursing facility. If you are choosing a place for your loved one, I hope you keep the Arnold House in mind because we meet all the demands.