HammondCare has received a prestigious international award for its efforts to enhance the experience of eating for residents with dementia.

“The Pleasure of Eating” award is one of eight International Dementia Excellence Awards presented annually by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirling in Scotland, in conjunction with a number of partners. The awards are designed to recognise organisations and individuals working to improve the quality of life of people with dementia. 

More than 200 nominations were received from around the world for the eight awards including categories such as Team of the Year, Nurse of the Year, Volunteers of the Year,Good Nights, Unsung Hero and Dementia Design. Winners were announced at the DSDC’s 4th International Conference,‘Coming of Age’,in London.

HammondCare Deputy Chief Executive, Sally Yule, was one of the HammonCare team who attended the conference and accepted the award.

Ms Yule said HammondCare was delighted to receive the award in recognition for their work done to enhance the experience of eating for residents with dementia.

“Our entry emphasised the importance of both the physical environment and a commitment to independence and individual choice around food,” said Ms Yule.

“Part of the inherent joy of eating is being able to choose when, what and how to eat.”

“Our meal times are flexible.  If a resident wants to sleep in and have a late breakfast,that’s encouraged.Some like breakfast in bed, others enjoy reading the paper while they eat. A person in their own home wouldn’t think twice about going to the kitchen in the middle of the night for a cup of chamomile tea and neither do our residents,” she said.

HammondCare’s nomination included the evaluation of a transfer of 72 residents with dementia from a traditional nursing home, Sinclair Home, which was serviced by a central, industrial kitchen; to their Southwood nursing home comprising six small cottages each with a fully-functioning, domestic kitchen. 

“The 2007 move resulted in astounding changes in residents including a marked increase in their appetites and engagement in life. As Southwood Manager Joy Robinson put it, ‘they’ve lost their will to die.’”

“They started eating a greater variety of foods, including more fresh fruits and vegetables, and ate and drank more frequently and often with greater delight as they could hear domestic clatter in the kitchen, smell meals cooking and participate in meal preparation. Shortly after the move, one resident stood in the kitchen and declared, ‘I want to make banana bread’.  And, she did,” said Ms Yule.

The Pleasure of Eating Award was supported and granted by French sponsor, the research foundation, La Fondation Médéric Alzheimer, based in Paris.

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