Time for some Christmas cheer – a resource promoting the importance of oral care, nutrition and hydration for care home residents. The Nourish Resource Pack is available to download below.
Oral Health, Nutrition and Hydration – All 3 Are Important
A collaborative approach to hydration, nutrition and oral health is important in managing nutritional care, as they can all impact on health and well-being. For example, good oral health can ensure that the ability to chew food is maintained, facilitating the consumption of a healthy and varied diet into older age. Conversely, a dry or sore mouth can make eating difficult. The Nourish Resource Pack represents a collaborative approach to these 3 key areas. It was developed by five dietitians working in different care homes, with support from hydration and dental health specialists.
The aim of the pack is to promote relevant nutrition messages for care home residents, with activities that support these messages. The themes used were inspired by Nutrition and Hydration week, a global week’s initiative committed to focusing activity and engagement on nutrition & hydration as an important part of quality & safety. In the Nourish Resource Pack, each day of the week presents a different health message with both educational content for staff and themed activities for residents to enjoy. Some of the suggested activities, Monday to Sunday, are described below.
Malnourishment Monday: Preventing Malnutrition
Suggested activities: Including a food awareness event like ‘British Pie Week’ where sweet/savoury pies could be offered, or introducing ‘Tea at 3’ where staff and residents, with invited family/friends, can sit together and have some protected time for tea (and snacks) served on vintage crockery.
Toothy Tuesday: Promoting Good Oral Health
Suggested activities: A quiz for residents and fun facts on dental health are provided in the pack.
Winning Wednesday: Involving patients in meal planning
Suggested activities: The catering team can use taster events to launch some new menu offerings or update more traditional ones to get the views of an ‘expert tasting panel’ i.e. the residents and their families.
Thirsty Thursday: Maintaining Hydration
Suggested activities: Holding a mock-cocktail (mocktail) or jelly-making event – some recipes are given in the pack, but why not see the ideas that the residents come up with?
Fibre Friday: Improving Digestion
Suggested activities: Involving residents in the making of higher fibre snacks and smoothies.
Savoury Saturday: Alternative Meal and Snack Ideas
Suggested activities: Hold a cheese-tasting event or make Saturday night a finger food buffet night, along with board games.
Sunny Sunday: Stress the Importance of Vitamin D (we can get this from direct sunlight on our skin when we are outdoors in April-October).
Suggested activities: Encourage daily activities to be undertaken outdoors in the spring/summer months. Involve residents in daily outside maintenance tasks like gardening, and facilitate reminiscences about sun/vitamin D related memories – family holidays to the seaside, picnics, street parties, cod liver oil supplements when children.
The suggestions in the Nourish Resource Pack can be used in a food-focused week, or as a rolling activity or as a source of ideas for occasional use. It contains information for all care home staff, from managers and care assistants to the catering team and activity coordinators. A checklist is also included to help care home staff incorporate a focus on hydration and nutrition into their regular work.
The pack can be downloaded from:
And unlike most things around Christmas, this is free!