The provision of high-quality catering services is a vital area of care home management and one where residents and their relatives have strong views. Mealtimes are important and pleasurable occasions for many residents and providing good quality and nutritious meals in a homely and pleasant environment should be a key aim.

Domiciliary care organisations will vary as to the support services they provide to help service users prepare meals and to eat and drink, but all care should be properly assessed and planned with full input from the service user or their family or representatives. Any help provided should be aimed at assisting the service user to have their needs met and should promote personal choice, food preferences and independence at all times.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented major challenges to care homes and domiciliary care organisations and the effects on many service users and residents has been profound. Self-isolating or shielding service users, restricted visiting from family and friends and limited use of communal areas has impacted negatively on meals and mealtimes for many. A healthy balanced diet has never been more important to reduce susceptibility to and prevent long-term complications from Covid-19

Efforts should be made to find out what service users would like to eat and options should reflect this. Service users should be offered both choice and quality.

Related information can be found in the Nutrition and Food Hygiene topics.

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