Every industry has its focal point, the most important center that every other part of the production surrounds. In community living that focal point is the dining room.
In my first job in health care after years of experience in the restaurant industry, I learned quickly and surprisingly from a state surveyor just how important our dining room was to my community.
It started when four state surveyors showed up at our facility before 8 a.m. wearing their severe grey suits that shouted authority. But I was new on the job, naïve, and not intimidated like the other staff. Perhaps because of this, I learned from my interviewer and was grateful about what she taught me.
It made sense to me that if the most important parts of a resident’s day are mealtimes and the residents are the most important part of our community because they are the foundation, our reason for being in the community at all.
At the time I was the dietary manager working side by side with nurses and CNAs in a nursing home. On that day a path opened up for me because of changes in regulations and my attitude toward those changes. My career journeyed onward. I became a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, attained my Masters in Nutrition and Foodservice Management, and worked in the corporate world of foodservice distribution as a healthcare specialist, working exclusively with Senior Housing providers across the country and locally, always improving the quality of food service and menu programs.
I am still grateful to that state surveyor Arlene, who took the time to teach me the importance of person centered dining in our community all those years ago.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Think about what life is like for your residents. How can you make mealtimes more satisfying for them?