If you walk into any of our dining rooms, you’ll find that there’s more on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
As part of our new care practice, our aged care residences are becoming more inclusive, more inviting, and more appetising, with the addition of food buffets.
“I want people to come to VMCH knowing that we are the best and that we have good food.”
This is the opinion of Wayne Wallis, VMCH Hospitality Manager. Wayne has a vision for VMCH, to be the leader in the aged care industry.
“There’s the perception that the food in aged care is terrible. As an organisation and an industry, we need to break down that stereotype.”
Wayne explains that each residence has qualified chefs that are cooking really good quality food, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
“Our chefs are really doing the best that they can for the residents. We want the community to know that aged care doesn’t mean a reduction in quality of life. We want to provide a life that is equal to, or better than it was before they came to live with us.
“We want our residents to be happy, and good food makes people happy.”
Part of Wayne’s plan to improve catering services across the organisation includes the introduction of the buffet-style food service where residents either serve themselves or choose from several options. This is in contrast with the model of serving pre-prepared plated meals to residents.
Originally intended as a Montessori-based practice for residents with dementia, the new meal service system provides choice to all residents, despite their cognitive abilities.
“It ties in well with the new Aged Care Quality Standards,” says Wayne. “It gives control back to the resident and allows them to make their own choices in their care. This includes simple choices of ‘what am I going to eat today’.
“The older style of food service doesn’t allow for choice on the day, it’s made in advance, or not at all. The problem with that in aged care, people forget what they had ordered last week, or they don’t feel like that meal today.
“It also changes the dynamics of the dining experience, suddenly the interaction changes between the residents, and with the staff. It becomes more of a social event. We want residents to do as much as they can for themselves, and that includes having a chat and then wandering over to the buffet to choose their meal.
“And if you don’t feel like peas, you don’t have to have them. If you want less food, or you want a second helping, it’s the resident’s choice.”
The next phase of Wayne’s plan includes more training for staff around food presentation, ensuring morning and afternoon tea is made fresh in-house, and incorporating new and innovative ways of presenting texture modified foods.
“We are continually telling our food services staff that if it looks good, it tastes good. We are aiming for a restaurant standard in our residences, similar to what you’d get from your local pub or hotel. A nice neat plate, complete with garnishes.
“You can’t underestimate the importance of a good garnish.”