To the service user, mealtimes can be the highlight of the day, particularly if they do not receive any company other than during these times. This Policy summarises the philosophies and arrangements within the Organisation that ensure that mealtimes are made significant to the service user, that the food offered is highly nutritious, and that food is of the quality, quantity and variety expected by the service user, and delivered at the times set by them:
1. The Care Worker discusses how they can assist the service user with the preparation, cooking and serving of their food and drink.
2. The Care Worker understands the importance of nutrition and hydration and has been trained to detect signs of malnutrition and dehydration in the service user.
3. The Care Worker has been trained in nutrition and food hygiene, as appropriate to food preparation within the service user’s home, and assisting service users with food and drink.
4. If there are problems with nutrition, the Care Worker discusses with the service user the help they might need to improve this. This may include referral to an appropriate professional, e.g. dietician, with the service user’s approval.
5. Service users are enabled to maintain their independence with shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning for as long as possible.
6. The Care Worker discusses food and drink likes and dislikes before preparing the service user’s menus and shopping lists. The Care Worker respects the requests and wishes of the service user with respect to their diet.
7. The Care Worker discusses any religious, cultural or special dietary needs before preparing menus and shopping lists, and do not make assumptions about service users’ food requirements with respect to their cultural or religious beliefs.
8. The Care Worker is able to assist the service user to identify aids that may help him / her to maintain their independence when eating.
9. In consultation with the service user, the Care Worker can provide assistance with eating, ref Policy No 3402.
10. Service users are not rushed when receiving assistance with food, and are not interrupted unnecessarily when eating their food.
11. The Care Worker ensures that a drink is given to the service user with their food.
11. The Care Worker ensures that any food prepared by them is appetizing to the service user.
12. The Care Worker can assist the service user to clear away food and food debris after completion of eating, according to the service users’ wishes.