We are all now increasingly aware about the importance of nutrition. Having operated in the residential care and supported living, we have seen various initiatives and CQC policy looking at food within social care. The overwhelming focus is on choice, which is an absolute must, but what about the food itself, its nutritious value and variation, and its flavour for the individual? Our challenges in Supported Living and in smaller residential care homes are that we operate services without qualified cooks, and we depend very much on the Support Workers with such variable abilities in cooking to support the clients with their three meals a day. We have some fantastic cooks, but we don’t expect all our staff to keep that level of consistency, and in this sector we could do so much to structure our approach for taste and nutritional value, and personalisation to match individual dietary needs for optimum health and wellbeing.
Strada Care is now researching and investing resources with a Nutrition consultancy on how we can invest in this area to offer a much more structured approach to meet the individual needs and tastes of our clients, so that they are supported as best as possible to cook quality meals throughout the week that not only whet the appetite, but provide the nutritional values they individually need for the their mental and physical needs. Another focus will be specific topics such as optimised gut health and the research of vitamin interactions with both medical conditions and the medications themselves. One current area of interest is the link between Vitamin D deficiency and higher risks of complications with Covid 19. Vitamin D is a powerful nutrient which is essential for healthy muscles and bones, and also the correct functioning of the immune system.. A startling amount of people in the UK lack sufficient Vitamin D levels – 27% have insufficient or deficient levels, with 74% having below the optimum for wellbeing – source: www.forthwithlife.co.uk. Looking into this further we found one example that really interests us, which is the potential impact of anticonvulsant medications on Vitamin D levels, bringing levels down further. If we include a lack of sunlight UVB in winter months and older age into the equation, we might find an even greater deficiency.
Discussions and planning are well underway on how Strada Care can play a role to revolutionise the approach to nutrition in social care, and specifically Supported Living. More on this subject soon!