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Caterplus Food Cards created to help dementia residents make informed choices

Caterplus, Elior UK's specialist care catering arm, has introduced an extensive new range of Food Cards that have been specifically developed to help dementia residents in care homes make informed food choices at mealtimes.

Historically, Food Cards have not represented food as it would appear on the plate, rather images have been snapshots of food choices – typically with neither plates nor cutlery in evidence. Such images are not easily recognised by dementia sufferers, who consequently find them difficult to comprehend.

The new Food Cards being rolled out by Caterplus takes the concept to a new level. Each card portrays a different meal choice, exactly how it would appear on a plate and is shown to dementia residents before mealtimes to help them decide what they would like to eat.

Laura Tighe, Managing Director, Caterplus said, “It was important for us to create a range of cards that was as accessible as possible for dementia residents in care homes in order to provide them with a dignified dining experience.

“We’ve closely collaborated with care homes and residents to ensure the Cards provide the best support by providing context and ease of use to streamline mealtimes.”

The Caterplus Food Cards have been carefully curated to be visually engaging and easy to follow for dementia residents. To avoid any confusion and to encourage food choices, the Cards dish images are consistent and include cutlery.

Each A5 image is accompanied by information detailing where the food sits on the IDDSI framework giving carers a quick reference as to its suitability for each resident. There is also guidance on how the dish can be adapted to make them suitable for IDDSI levels.

Mandy Davies, Head of Dietetics and Nutrition, Elior said, “Improving people’s health and wellbeing through food is a key part of our business. We are very aware that catering for dementia residents can be particularly challenging due to their very specific needs.

“These Food Cards have been created with residents and carers in mind. Residents have a clear representation of their food, while carers have guidance on how to ensure that each resident is served only what is appropriate for them.”