Do Your Community Marketers, Ancillary Staff and Dedicated Servers Know the Importance of Your Dining Room?

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?

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy is the founder and owner of Kind Dining®, which she began in 2006. She’s traveled across the country and Canada working with and training senior living communities that want to create an exceptional dining experience for their residents and staff. In addition, she certifies select professionals in her Kind Dining® philosophy and provides tools, now in an eLearning format, that make learning stick and help people put insights into action. As a result of her work, clients often share their staff has a new sense of purpose, get along better and keep their focus and energy on what matters most. In fact, she wrote a book, Hospitality for Boomers on how to attract residents and keep good team members. In her free time, she enjoys walking Oregon trails and cheering on her favorite soccer teams, the Portland Thorns and Timbers.

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