Dining experience enhanced

By Petrina Wright | Posted: Sunday August 20, 2023

They’re mixing things up in the kitchen of Peacehaven care home, much to the delight of residents and staff alike.

Not only has the lunch and dinner menu been extended to provide more variety in the offering, but a hot buffet has also been introduced.

Previously, residents were presented with their meals already plated.

Presbyterian Support Southland (PSS) food service manager Rochelle Copeland said the main goal of changing the format of the meals was to give residents more independence, more control and more choice over what they ate.

The change first came about when new equipment was installed last year as part of an upgrade of the Peacehaven kitchen. As a result, a bain-marie became available and the idea to utilise it for a hot buffet was born.

“We wanted to make the experience a more homely environment.”

The team had been considering making changes to the menu for some time, but it was a conversation with resident Meldrum McKinlay, which encouraged them to make it happen, she said.

The kitchen staff began introducing the changes in May.

Rochelle said it was hoped the new menu and dining format would encourage more residents to come to the dining room for their meals rather than eating in their rooms. This would provide the residents with an opportunity for social interaction, improving their overall health and wellbeing,

Not only was the new meal format giving power and control back to the residents, but it also meant there was less food wastage because residents selected what foods and the quantity of food they wanted to eat.

Another added bonus was that it had made the kitchen team’s job more interesting and challenging, which they enjoyed.

“It’s a win for everyone.”

Rochelle said feedback from residents had been positive so far.

The new menu was still being developed, but if it continued to go well at Peacehaven, the team would consider introducing it into the other Enliven homes.

“It’s exciting times.”

Peacehaven care home manager Ronette Bolivar said the more independent residents were particularly happy with the changes, and she had also received positive feedback from residents’ families.

Resident Meldrum McKinlay was pleased with the new dining experience and menu.

He said the buffet gave the residents more choice and control over what they ate.

Resident Colleen Dawson said she was also enjoying having more choice, particularly on Fish ‘n’ chip Fridays which was her favourite mealtime.