The Gloucestershire charity Lilian Faithfull Care has a big focus on food across their care homes in Cheltenham and Stroud. A dozen chefs, and their team of nearly fifty staff, cook from fresh each day, to provide tasty nutritious food for residents, guests and staff.
What is less known is the chef’s expertise in providing for those on specialist diets, including puree food for people who may have difficulty in chewing and swallowing, known as ‘dysphagia.’
There is a wide range of conditions in later life which can affect someone’s ability to chew and swallow food. However with the right knowledge and skills many people can retain the pleasure in food and drink. The catering team follow international dysphagia guidance adapting food and liquids to suit each person.
Deputy Catering Manager and Nutrition Advisor Lucy Collins explains, “There are lots of adaptions we can do to make sure the texture and thickness of food and drinks are suitable. We always keep the adapted meals as close to the usual menu options as possible. We start with the same fresh ingredients.”
There are a fantastic range of piping techniques for purees so that they reflect the original food. This was one of the skills that Chef Oscar learnt during his apprenticeship at the charity, “I was surprised what you can do with it when you are taught properly how to pipe it.”
The beautiful presentation is not only important in the enjoyment of food and retaining of dignity at mealtimes but it is key in stimulating appetite and therefore improving nutrition.
The team work together with the support from speech and language therapists when for extra advice and input is needed.
Having the right adaptions made to food and drink mean residents can eat and drink with confidence, benefit from a varied and appetising diet and continue to enjoy sharing a meal with others.
Watch the video to see the team in action.
Thanks to Esther Clow, videographer and editor, for kindly creating this video for free