Nurse Decides to Pour Coffee
How Small Acts Make a Big Difference
"Employees are happiest when they're
trying to achieve goals that are
difficult but not out of reach"
Author of Stumbling on Happiness
I was so moved by a nurse in my last Kind Dining® training, I gave her a round of applause. I offer this training to staff and providers at senior living communities nationwide. On Monday, the nurse was adamant that, “There was no way [she] could see how [she] and her staff would be able to help serve at the evening meal.” On Tuesday, we actually had some fun for a few hours: We talked through the serving steps, practiced them together, and discussed how socializing around the meal often moves people to get along better. On Wednesday, as we talked through the value of individual initiative, the nurse volunteered her own story. At the evening meal the night before, she chose to pour coffee and water for the residents. The serving staff was so genuinely appreciative; the nurse was overwhelmed by their graciousness and continued gratitude for her help. She was amazed by their reaction, as well as the residents’ acknowledgment. She committed to continue helping in the dining room.
If we are not intrinsically motivated to improve the dining experience in senior living, the new Quality Indicator Survey (QIS)
process in nursing homes will be an impetus. This federally mandated process will make providers accountable for relationship and service quality in a whole new way. Because the principles behind it have proven to enhance residents’ quality of life, I believe it will soon broaden its reach throughout all senior housing options. It is not an easy process to realize that our job responsibilities are changing and that new tasks require new skills. However, learning to provide better service in the dining environment is a skill most people can master.
Providing true hospitality is an opportunity for staff to feel respected and empowered. Getting to that place is a process of change that feels vulnerable. Such change requires developing our best behavior, making an effort to demonstrate good manners and kindness to others (primarily co-workers, and of course, residents). Honing relationship skills is not a practice that has been readily embraced in the nursing home environment, until now.
It is a pleasure to witness staff, like the nurse mentioned above, who internalize and connect to the difference their attitudes and actions make. When staff appreciate their role as servers, they can quickly see the improvements in their residents’ quality of life. Embracing hospitality is good for staff, good for their co-workers, and the research shows it is good for the company too.
Focus on Food
Mechanical Art Comes of Age
Contributed by Janelle L. Asai, RD, LD and Mark Dougherty, BS, CDM, CFPP
As we look to the changing atmosphere and customer expectations in long-term care, rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care, and independent living, the standard for dining services is in a state of flux. What worked in the 90s and 2000s is not going to cut the mustard going forward. An area of focus to raise the bar is the mechanically altered diet presentation. We have shape and mold puree, but what about the mechanical soft texture diet? That pile of ground chicken on the plate is about as appetizing as the old days of puree in bowls.
Moving beyond those bowls is what can take a community from average to superior without a lot of extra effort. It just takes some planning, a little skill, and a change in process. Working with several simple culinary procedures and equipment it is easy to take your mechanical soft texture from semi-dry piles to easily sculpted, appetizing creations. One way to start is simply using your plastic spatula. For example, add extra thickened gravy to your mechanical roast beef. Place a scoop on the plate, and using a spatula, press down at an angle in three overlapping places, making your scooped pile look like three slices of beef. Then, top with gravy over the three "slices." This gives your food dimension and interest, plus some extra fun!
Over the next few months we will be presenting our ideas here and hope you will take the journey with us. Mechanical Food Art will be introducing a new website, providing presentations, and introducing programs that will assist you in your journey to make your mechanically altered foods awesome. Learn more by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org