The dining room is one of the most important factors influencing a resident’s nutritional intake. A dining room needs to be a nice welcoming space. Research suggests environment and atmosphere can significantly affect nutrition intake, so it is important to not only focus on the temperature & presentation of meals, but also the temperature of the dining room, lighting, noise and the comfort levels of residents. The calmer and more comfortable a resident is, the more likely they will enjoy their meal and meet their nutritional needs.
Aspects that should be considered include:
- The set up – no clutter and plenty of space to move around.
- Appropriate furniture and decor – consider the style most relevant to your residents
- Table settings – consider colours, appropriate cutlery, table space
- Background music – did you know soft music can slow the rate of eating lead to increased intake of food & drinks?
- Lighting – dimmed or soft lighting has been found to increase comfort & disinhibition again promoting residents to consume more at meals
- Resident and staff interaction
- Enough seats for staff to sit down and assist residents
- Minimum disruption to residents from mediation trolley or visiting health professionals
- Meal duration – do residents have enough time to enjoy and complete their meal?
Are there improvements to be made in your dining room? When planning any changes, asking for residents input can be valuable to enhancing the dining room experience. For more information on providing a quality dining room experience refer to the following: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/agedcare/publications/wellforlife.htm