Skilled Nursing Facilities Now Offering Residents Enjoyable Restaurant Style Dining


Managing a health care facility can be challenging in the modern era. Many factors go into providing expert patient care. One of the most important aspects of working with patients is ensuring they’re eating properly. Well prepared, tasty food is a must in order to overcome illness and get healthy again.

Over the years, many people have become accustomed to dining out on a regular basis. When patients enter a skilled care facility even for a short time, they can find it harder to adjust to the needs of the institution. Nurses and other health care professionals have recognized this issue as a problem. With that in mind, they’re creating a new food plans for the contemporary care facilities. Offering patients more food choices is the backbone of a new era in dining that holds great promise for care providers and patients alike.

New Dining Options

At some of the more upscale facilities, the entire process of dining has been completely revamped. Once plain dining plans are now far more lavish. Many places offer all sorts of culinary options. Like restaurants, residents can pick from many possibilities. It’s not uncommon to see many types of made-to-order menu items. It’s also increasingly common to see buffets that allow residents to pick and choose which particular menu items they want to eat from a much wider variety of choices. This has helped revolutionize the process of cooking food in such facilities.

Whereas many items were made in large batches and then left to sit under hot lamps to wait for people to eat at set times, today’s discerning clients want something more. They’re finding in menus that emphasize locally sourced ingredients and even offer glasses of drinks with each part of the menu. Four and even five course menus are changing the way residents live and eat.

Other Challenges

While such menus are increasingly being seen at certain facilities, skilled nursing experts realize there are certain obstacles that can get in the way. Many SNF residents must stick to a restricted diet. They’re not able to eat certain foods. Others must eat at certain times in order to ensure their medication needs are fully met. Yet, this still makes it possible for such facilities to take a close look at their plans to feed residents and see where they can improve them. It’s all about going beyond the basics and implementing flexible ideas that keep in mind all patients are individuals. The goal is not about getting calories to patients. It’s about making sure patients are happy with their food choices and ready to embrace eating properly.

Many facilities are looking at ways to allow residents to choose when they want to eat, what they want to eat and eat when they’re hungry instead of sticking to a specific time frame. The real ideal is for such facilities to examine ways in which they might function as a restaurant does and put the needs of their clients first. It is, as one facility manager states, a “person-centered care approach.”

More Choices

Facility owners and operators see how restaurants provide meals. They’re making dining spaces more appealing with dimmer lights and comfortable seating. The goal is also take out the institutional feel and replace it with something more homey. They’re bringing in better quality ingredients such as steak that can help stimulate patient appetite. This may appear to cost more money initially but it pays off when patients eat more and thus generate less food waste. Many places have replaced bland items in every part of their menu including snacks. Gone are the days when milk and crackers ruled. Instead, there’s more varied fare such as sandwiches and a variety of soups.

The net result has been happier patients and a sense of better serving their patient population. That makes it one trend likely to stick around long-term.


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