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Therapeutic Hospitality Supports Resident Nutrition and Wellness

A new senior care dining experience effectively implements holistic person-centered dementia care excellence.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, care teams in senior communities have worked tirelessly to continue to create special moments for residents, to support residents’ health, and to adapt and overcome unforeseen circumstances at work. According to Christy Turner, General Manager at Garden Spot Village in New Holland, Pennsylvania, the focus on engaging residents to support proper nutrition has never been more acute. The challenge is exponentially amplified when caring for residents with cognitive impairment or dementia. 

“It’s been a challenging year,” says Turner, especially in light of ever-changing guidelines from local authorities. “Residents are forced to be in their rooms…the dining rooms could be open one day and closed the next.”

With the unique circumstances of physical distancing and closed dining rooms, senior communities across the country have been challenged with elevating resident quality of life. Thankfully, as the pandemic swept across the U.S., Sodexo teams were developing a unique resident experience program to meet the need head-on.  

B Integrated Dining & Therapeutic Hospitality© is a uniquely engineered resident dining experience designed specifically to improve the clinical outcomes that enable residents with mild cognitive impairment or dementia to thrive in place longer and delay the transition to higher levels of support. 

 

Why it Works

Registered Dietitians are fighting a war against malnutrition for their senior residents. Engaging residents and ensuring proper nutrition for residents with dementia is challenging in the era of COVID-19. 

The B© was developed with the guidance of data and research regarding cognitive impairment, with specialized guidance from clinical health psychologist and national healthcare consultant, Lori Stevic-Rust, Ph.D., ABPP. 

According to Stevic-Rust, “A person with dementia needs an environment that is easy to navigate and makes sense to them.” 

More than ensuring RDNs are in place to guide nutrition support, B© provides training for all members of the community’s care team.  

According to Sodexo’s clinical dietitian supporting Garden Spot Village, Tara Phillips, MA, RD, LDN, the B© has helped keep residents engaged.

“With the B© program, it’s helped us stay connected to our residents. You’re encouraging that resident. They’re in better spirits. They eat better. Right now we want comfort food. We look at our own lives…we’re drinking wine and doing things that bring us comfort,” Phillips laughs. “And we’re fattening ourselves up. That concept does not need to stop in senior living. Our residents – just like us in our own homes – are getting care and nutrition and we’re encouraging them and socializing with them.”

According to Garden Spot Village’s healthcare manager Ashley Baker, a key ingredient is the expertise of the clinical dietitian on site.

“It’s really nice to have that educator. She knows her stuff,” says Baker about their clinical dietitian support. “They’re so diverse about what they know about the human body. We partner well with their enthusiasm and rolling out a new idea like B©."

 

Dietitians: Unsung Heroes  

“Dietitians have worked nonstop,” says Phyllis J. Famularo, DCN, RD, CSG, LDN, CDP, CADDCT, Senior Manager Nutrition Services. “They’re very challenged. They’ve seen a lot of residents die. They’re on the floors, they hear things. They participate as part of the clinical teams. In acute care, the dietitians are caring for residents with acute cases requiring tube feeding.”

But according to Tara Phillips, the B© program makes it easy. 

“It expands their taste buds,” says Phillips. According to her, B© gives her the tools to support her work. “The engagement part of B is coaching and talking about what’s good for our bodies to make us feel good.”

Phillips continues, “It’s easy to do. The engagement piece with B© gives us all the training and tools. Our servers were excited and encouraged. They’re writing valentines. They’re providing hand-written notes along with service. We’re offering special activities with meal delivery. We’re picking up the piece of family and community.” 

Ultimately, the engagement support through B© has been the most influential driver of outcomes.  

“Most important is the engagement piece through B©,” says Turner. “It’s allowed us to find ways to build relationships with those who may be new to senior care and to support those relationships.”

“We can’t see smiles through masks,” says Turner. “But B© helps us with tools to show we care. And all the things our team in personal care and nursing have adapted and adopted to support the resident during COVID-19 are super important.”

March 01, 2021

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