Set in Erskine Home, Bishopton, this project enhanced the dignity of older people with advanced dementia, by using innovative methods to facilitate their food and drink choice. The five senses were used to enhance their eating and drinking experience, and new ways were developed to guide staff in assisting the person to eat and drink.
Having no choice over what to eat and drink threatens dignity, so when the ability to effectively communicate is lost through advanced dementia, new, innovative approaches are required to ensure that food preferences and needs are met.
The project involved six residents with advanced dementia, along with their families, and staff members within the home. It lasted for twelve weeks, with staff and family members receiving an intensive sensory education package ahead of time. At mealtimes, staff focussed on different senses on two week blocks throughout the project, and ensured that mealtimes were a protected time of day, enhancing the experience for the residents.
The project showed that across the 12 week study, not only did communication at mealtimes improve, but the six residents maintained their body weight, which can be a particular challenge for people with advanced dementia. All staff are now more aware of the importance of a calm atmosphere at mealtimes and using all senses to enhance diner’s experience.