Specialist nutrition meals: the journey from brief to plate

Kelly Fortune, product development project manager at apetito, explains the process behind developing specialist nutrition meals that are visually appealing, full of flavour, and make a real difference to residents

It is estimated that over half of care home residents suffer with dysphagia – a secondary condition associated with dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and head and neck cancers – which results in difficulty with swallowing and chewing. Dysphagia can have significant clinical implications for the individual and can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, impaired quality of life, choking, aspiration, pneumonia, and, in severe cases, death

Care homes often blend, puree, and liquidise food to ensure a safe texture for residents with dysphagia – something which can take considerable preparation time for kitchen staff. However, blending food often takes away taste, vital nutrition, and calories, as well as residents’ dignity and enjoyment of food. The addition of water to achieve the right texture can also lead to a dilution of nutritional value

Many care homes are now turning to pre-prepared texture modified foods, which are designed to replace meals that were previously blended into an unrecognisable dish. These can provide residents with a safe meal, promote resident-centred care, deliver vital nutrition, and return dignity to dining

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