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Care home food

(60 Posts)
Bijou Wed 04-Jul-18 15:22:33

I am in a care home for rehab and I am surprised at the unhealthy food being served. Very stodgy. Little fresh veg, or fruit. Lots of steamed pudding and custard, no oily fish. All the things that have been banned from school dinners. Even semolina for afters which reminded me of when I was at school in the 30’0s.
I am healthy apart from pain caused by a small fracture at the base of the spine. Have always cooked m,y own food and eaten healthy.. can’t wait to get out and have va decent meal!

Tweedle24 Thu 05-Jul-18 12:28:54

There are lots of causes of constipation - diet being one of them. There is also lack of mobility, dehydration and, as has been said, opiate drugs.

GillT57 Thu 05-Jul-18 12:31:02

Oh dear Bijou, I hope you get home soon, back to the food you want to eat. You are not a moaner, just feeling a bit helpless I think, having to take what you are given, so to speak. Very frustrating for you! Would a home made cake and a cup of tea help? brew cupcake

Witzend Thu 05-Jul-18 14:20:17

In any case, traditional food doesn't have to be stodgy. The sponge puddings at my mother's CH certainly weren't. However in general they do have do be easy to eat.

There was a trad roast option at my mother's CH every Sunday lunch. I was once cutting up her roast pork for her - i've never known any meat so tender! It cut like butter. I asked the chef later how he managed it - a steam oven.
The kitchen also provided home made fairy cakes, with variations, every tea time.
Personally I thought the food was excellent.

Because a lot of them needed encouragement to drink enough, they were all offered several small glasses of weak squash every day. I once heard a visitor piously complaining that it was wrong to give them squash - plain water would be healthier.
She didn't seem to grasp the fact that many of them - my mother included - just wouldn't drink plain water.

M0nica Thu 05-Jul-18 15:53:42

Some years ago my uncle was admitted to hospital suffering from dehydration and malnutrition, despite the effort of every one around him, to encourage him to eat and drink. When I visited him the following day, as I walked into the ward the nurse by his bed said to me in an aggressive tone. 'He won't eat anything'.

Beside him on the bed table was a large plate of steak
pie, boiled carrots and boiled potatoes, with a dark brown gravy on it that could have been picked up in one piece, and rhubarb pie and custard, with a similar consistency to the gravy. I turned round to the nurse and said ' If I was in his situation, I wouldn't eat it either'. The look of shock on her face was a pleasure to see.

Next time I visited he had been moved to the mental health ward, where they were encouraging him, successfully, to drink those high protein/calorie drinks, even if only in tiny sips.

grannyactivist Thu 05-Jul-18 19:59:57

Bijou please challenge your caregivers in the home. If your medication has been prescribed four hourly then insist upon it - you should not have to ask, but if the carers are not doing their job properly they need to be challenged. You most definitely should not be allowed to suffer needlessly. In the home I visit pain relief is always regarded as a priority; as it should be! flowers

Jalima1108 Thu 05-Jul-18 20:52:57

Oh dear Bigjou, I'm sorry to hear that you are not being cared for properly - surely the idea of a care home is that you should receive the care you need? ie your medication on time and good food to enable you to get better asap.

Do you have any family or friends who could bring you some nicer food in - my friend did this when I was in hospital and the food was appalling. It was just ready-prepared tubs of fruit etc, but very welcome indeed.

And they need to give you your meds regularly.

Best wishes flowers

Jalima1108 Thu 05-Jul-18 20:53:19

Oh dear - sorry, typo!!


SunnySusie Fri 06-Jul-18 09:43:32

Best wishes Bijou for a relief from your pain and some better food. I volunteer at a large NHS hospital and hear a lot of comments from patients about food. I totally agree it should be healthy where possible, but it is very hard to cater for everyone. Maybe your rehab care home is smaller and it should be easier to prepare something more individual. Certainly there is no excuse for lack of fresh fruit, particularly in July. Do you have anyone who can bring fruit in for you? I do think when you are not feeling well its particularly important to have tempting, healthy food to brighten the days. Having said all that, at least three quarters of the patients I see, of all ages, voluntarily choose sweeties, crisps, chocolate and biscuits over fruit and healthy options. The argument is that their life is currently unpleasant and it cheers them up. Recently we replaced all our fried crisps with baked ones on health grounds, resulting in negative comments from almost everyone and a refusal to part with 79p for 'horrible' crisps.

inishowen Fri 06-Jul-18 10:04:37

My hospital stay was a few years ago. The food was awful. One day I ordered cornflakes for breakfast. It was sent up with the milk already on it. A soggy mess. Why would they do that?

Rosina Fri 06-Jul-18 10:18:00

In hospital recently I was handed an illustrated menu; the food looked so appetising and I asked the nurse if it was as good as it looked. She paused and said 'Sometimes'.

Mine was just an overnight stay, luckily, as the vegetable quiche was pretty inedible and it all seemed to follow the usual route, as described by the OP, of mass catering. Had I been ill I would have asked the family to bring healthy eats in. What a pity - you must need good food to help recovery, Bijou. all the best for your quick return to health, and I would certainly speak up .

Hm999 Fri 06-Jul-18 10:24:50

Presumably they have a lot of older people, and they think that's what they want, old-fashioned food.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Fri 06-Jul-18 11:21:44

I wonder if they think that many of their older residents are traditional in their tastes? Perhaps it's a battle to get some of them to actually eat anything at all, let alone anything unfamiliar. My parents never ate what they called 'foreign muck' and didn't know what they were missing.

tigger Fri 06-Jul-18 11:41:40

Perhaps some of the residents need stodge to build them up.

4allweknow Fri 06-Jul-18 12:02:56

Many old people can't chew or swallow well hence the rather soppy type of food. And a lot off the menus are geared to what they would have enjoyed in their younger days. Friends have a joke that for us it will be pizza, spag bol, lasagne, choc brownies, profiteroles. Speedy recovery.

jenpax Fri 06-Jul-18 12:27:29

I was recently in hospital for 8 weeks after two ops. The food was typical stodgy, and as I was in a London hospital ( and no family could visit regularly due to distance) I had no choice but to eat the offerings!
In the end one of the reasons I was discharged (although still not really well) was that I stopped eating?
like Bijou I cook healthy veg based food at home. I am a vegetarian and my diet is varied, and vegetable and tofu based. the hospital had very little that I could eat?

annifrance Fri 06-Jul-18 12:36:03

I thought NHS food was the pits, until I tried the French!!! It's absolutely awful and inedible. This from the country famous for its cuisine. I now insist OH brings in meals!

Theoddbird Fri 06-Jul-18 12:38:55

Complain...refuse to eat the rubbish they are serving... wishing you a speedy recovery x

Fennel Fri 06-Jul-18 13:03:50

annifrance - maybe it depends what part of France you live in.
When in hospital for a few days last Oct. I asked for no meat meals.
Most days I was given veg soup, fried fish (not too bad) with a large pile of some kind of pasta. But always a good fresh vegetable side dish and a piece of fruit for dessert. Plus a yoghurt.
I had a wonderful rest there, and it was great not to have to plan shop for and cook all the meals.

missdeke Fri 06-Jul-18 13:20:42

I am not remotely fussy with food and will eat almost anything put in front of me. When I was in hospital for 10 days last year the food was so diabolical I could only eat jelly (no added sugar so chemical flavoured), soup, served in a small pot, less than a cupful with no bread, and something called ice cream on the pot but was more like Tesco value mousse. I tried the fish and chips but could not even get the knife into the fish and the chips were so dry I had to drink water to moisten it enough to swallow. I know they are having difficulty making ends meet but there was no excuse for this. I would have loved some well cooked stodgy pudd and custard at the time. hmm

schnackie Fri 06-Jul-18 13:54:31

I agree with grannyactivist. You should be getting your pain medication as ordered, and certainly not have to ask for it as if you are being difficult! Have a talk with the Sister in charge.

Irishlady Fri 06-Jul-18 15:08:21

Before I retired I was a checkout operator in a large supermarket. Every Friday two men would come in to do their shopping. They each had a large trolley filled to the brim. One day they came through my checkout. Nearly every item in the trolleys was from the stores Value range, this included, value frozen mince, value sausages, value white bread, value margarine etc. I would guess that about 70% of the food was frozen. I never saw any fresh fruit or veg. They paid with a company cheque which had the name of a care home on the front. It made me wonder how many times that was replicated throughout the country.

M0nica Fri 06-Jul-18 15:09:57

Irishlady's story is what most terrifies me about being in care.

sweetcakes Fri 06-Jul-18 16:15:54

When I was in hospital before I left a woman knocked asked if I would do a survey on the food that I had that week ? so pleased to have helped after I had finished she was under no illusion that I was disgusted with it I think the firm was called appertito or something like that! They provided the meals.

Rosina Fri 06-Jul-18 16:47:06

I think that was the company who supplied the food that I was offered, sweetcakes. I know hospitals are not hotels, and they can't offer haute cuisine, but it can't be too difficult to arrange decently cooked vegetables and food that looks appetising to encourage recovery. School meals when I was a child were wonderful - everything produced in the kitchen from scratch, and consequently fresh and tasty. I worked at a school before retiring and the same situation applied there; the food was extremely good. It can be done - but sadly market forces come into play and it's a case of get the cheapest ingredients that you can and to hell with the end result.

LiltingLyrics Fri 06-Jul-18 17:12:16

I don't accept the economy argument. I think it's more to do with poorly skilled and paid catering staff and lack of imagination. I eat a mostly plant-based diet and try to eat what's in season. Vegetables are cheap and delicious.

Most of the household-named chefs have published a vegetarian recipe book at some point. There are thousands of delicious meals to be made with a few veg and some herbs and spices. That a hospital or care home can't whip up a hearty and nutritious soup or stew is incredible.

I had a short hospital stay recently and was served a tiny dry cheese sandwich for lunch, a small plain jacket potato for supper and toast for breakfast. Not a piece of fruit or vegetable other than the spud, not even a salad garnish. As I had had to fast before the operation I was starving. Had I had to stay longer I would have been sending out for Deliveroo.