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A team from Chamber members, Sandstone Care Group, attended a food service training day designed to help care home residents who have difficulty eating.

The IDDSI Level 4 training programme provides practical advice and recipe ideas to help residents who have a serious swallowing disorder called dysphagia.

International guidelines recommend people with the condition are served textured modified foods and thickened liquids to prioritise safety and prevent the risk of choking.

Sixteen people from Sandstone Care Group and their portfolio of seven care homes attended the Berkshire based course including operations managers, home managers and their deputies, chefs and cooks.

The course was run by Solutions for Care at food service supplier Bidfood’s headquarters in Slough.

Sandstone Care, which has been working with Bidfood for over three years, has recently signed a new four-year commercial contract with the food provider.

During the day the team were taught the importance of layering flavours and getting textures of foods right, whilst avoiding choking hazards. The chefs partnered up into teams and were challenged to create a starter and main course making Level 4 pureed food look like classic dishes. They also tasted and rated their favourite dishes based upon technical ability, appearance, flavour and overall standard.

Menus created included starters of prawn cocktail and melon and strawberries and mains of cottage pie with broccoli, Southern fried chicken with beans, sweetcorn and gravy as well as sausage, egg, chips and beans.

Jen Roberts, Sandstone Care’s Regional Operations Manager, said: “It was a really good and informative day. It was also emotional for me. If my mum had been provided with food like this when she was in hospital it would have been absolutely amazing. Food like this opens up so much more choice for people who find it difficult to eat.

“Since the training day we have set goals and targets for implementing the framework for all residents within our homes on a Level 4 diet. We will be regularly following up with Solutions for Care to discuss progress over the coming months.”

Brendan Andrews, Head Chef at Fleetwood Hall Care Home in Lancashire, said: “I’m excited to get back into the kitchen and use the skills we have learnt.”

Rachelle White, Head Chef at Oak Springs Care Home in Liverpool, said: “It’s amazing what we learnt about textures, food safety and most importantly appearance. I’m looking forward to putting this knowledge into practice at Oak Springs and to raise the standards for all our residents on a Level 4 diet.”

Mark Earnden, Founder of Solutions for Care, said: “Sandstone Care Group has a talented group of chefs, cooks and kitchen assistants who work really well together, as well as individually. We were impressed by how passionate they are about improving residents’ mealtimes and their amazing culinary creations.”


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