A glimpse of one of Kindred's amazing food service staffs. A glimpse of one of Kindred's amazing food service staffs.

Last week was National Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week, a time set aside to honor healthcare food and nutrition professionals. Thousands of patients and residents are admitted to Kindred facilities every year, and our staff has an amazing ability to keep up with all of their dietary needs and restrictions.

 

“We use a computerized system called Meal Metrics to generate menus that are appropriate to each patient,” says Quincie Grounds, RD/LD, CNSD, Nutrition Services Clinical Consultant, Kindred Healthcare, Hospital Division. “It inputs information about dietary needs, food allergies, food preferences, and cultural or religious preferences into a meal care plan. The patient can then select their food from the menu. A meal ticket is generated and put on the patient’s tray, and staff uses the meal ticket to build the patient’s meal.”  The Nursing Center Division uses a similar system to generate a traycard that is used along with a standard menu.

 

Staff education helps the foodservice staff stay informed about changes in national dietary guidelines. “In the last few years, care for diabetes has really changed,” Grounds says. “There are new concepts in self-management, insulin administration and nutrition. Kindred has incorporated those concepts into their 2012 Corporate Initiative for Glycemic Control. That initiative includes a focus on consistent carb diets, which is somewhat different from what we’ve done in the past. Gluten-free diets and food allergens have also recently been in the public eye, so we’ve provided staff education about those issues as well.”

 

In long-term care, transitional care and sub-acute care facilities, dining provides not only nutrition but also socialization. “Bringing residents to the table gets them out of their rooms and makes them feel more like they’re having a real meal,” Grounds says. “The speech pathologists also sometimes use mealtimes as a way to get people with similar afflictions or abilities together for therapy.”

 Facility dining rooms encourage patients to get out of their rooms and socialize with others. Facility dining rooms encourage patients to get out of their rooms and socialize with others.

 

Grounds says that the foodservice staff at Kindred is a compassionate group of people who produce quality meals. “If patients don’t eat, what we do is irrelevant,” she says. “If the food looks good and tastes good, they’ll eat, which supports healing and recovery.”

 

A glimpse of one of Kindred's amazing foodservice staffs. Facility dining rooms encourage patients to get out of their rooms and socialize with others.