Exciting new Food and Fluid Resource launch
By Kim Stringer, VfL Director (Scotland)
Over the last couple of years I've been part of a working group set up to develop a new food and fluid resource hosted on the Care Inspectorate’s hub, designed for those working in the care sector.
Members of the working group include people from the care sector, the NHS, the Care Inspectorate, Housing Associations, and the Soil Association. It's been a really enjoyable experience having the opportunity to work with these colleagues, and we have all learnt from each other. We have all shared our knowledge and expertise and are excited that everything has come together and that the resource has been launched.
Last month we had our formal launch at Parklands Care Home in Alloa, where the diners also took part in a 'Strictly Come Dining' session. Yes, this is inspired by Strictly Come Dancing! The chef, Stuart Middleton (winner of the NACC's Care Chef of the Year 2017 Award), created a range of dishes for the residents to taste and then score. Those dishes that score highly then become part of the next season’s menu. The atmosphere in the dining hall was fabulous, with residents having a marvellous time. The BBC came along to record the event, creating a little extra buzz of excitement, and this can be found here on Good Morning Scotland.
Stuart created some amazing vegan versions of the dishes that we were able to rate, and they all scored top marks. It was wonderful to be presented with dishes that were as exciting as the other dishes and in no way a poor relation, as can sometimes happen. The dishes included, for example: mushroom pâté on crostini, with a dressed fennel salad; herb-crusted tofu with a pea and mint purée; vegan cream cheese and beetroot tart; and a very tasty vegan panna cotta with fresh berries and elderflower syrup. As a Meallmore home, this home is on VfL's UK List and it is superb to see the standard of food that veggie or vegan residents could be offered here.
This was a lovely way to launch the Food and Fluid Resource, which is designed to be a comprehensive and helpful resource covering everything related to food and fluid in care. It's not prescriptive; it's designed to be a helpful guide, and we shall be continually adding to the resource and keeping it up-to-date. We hope that it proves to be a valuable guide.
Where good resources already exist, we have linked them. In other cases, we have developed our own materials with input from all members of the group. In terms of food fortification, for example, much of the existing practice involves the use dairy products – cream, butter and full-fat milk. V for Life therefore developed a factsheet detailing vegan alternatives. Heather Russell, the Vegan Society dietitian, kindly helped me with the nutritional and calorific values, so that this will genuinely be useful to those in the care sector who need to know the nutritional value of the food given to residents.
The Food and Fluid Resource covers a wide range of topics, including dementia, veggie/vegan finger foods, fortification for vegan diets, gluten-free foods, dysphagia, aids for daily living, an allergen toolkit, a ready reckoner for different religions and vegetarian/vegan factsheets, a large number of veggie/vegan recipes and menu planners, and more.
Together with others from the group, I took part in some filming sessions, where we had the chance to highlight the importance of food and fluid and why it's important to honour someone's beliefs – for example, why it's important to not compromise someone's vegetarian or vegan diet. We have had a number of interesting debates around the table, for example: what to do when a vegetarian or vegan with dementia asks for meat.
When we first began working together we had envisaged a printed cookbook, but as time went on, it became apparent that this would be rather too large to be practical, and that it would quickly become out of date! And so the online Food and Fluid resource was born.
We hope that everyone – and especially people working in the care sector – will visit the resource for inspiration and guidance.
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