Sunrise Senior Living of Guilford is celebrating the success of their Dining Services Coordinator Alan Simpson, after he was nominated in the PS100 Health and Nutrition category at the Cost Sector Catering Awards.
The nomination recognises his extraordinary dedication to the health of Sunrise’s residents and the innovative methods he has been employing to ensure they have the best nutritional support – through the production of fresh and enriching smoothies. Alan’s pioneering work is ensuring residents at Sunrise of Guildford enjoy the best care available, and his approach has now been rolled out nationwide.
Many Sunrise residents suffer from complex conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, which affect their dietary requirements and ability to take on food. To address these needs, doctors prescribe nutritional supplements in the form of shakes, but Alan recognised they were often rejected by residents because they were unpalatable.
Committed to resolving this, Alan decided to trial making smoothies in-house with fresh ingredients. After a number of taste tests, an eight week trial was introduced which varied colour as well as flavour. Most residents took to the new smoothies instantly, and were delighted with the new approach. However, Alan also found that some residents’ complex cognitive issues meant the shakes were being refused because they were not recognised as food. Vivid green smoothies created from spinach or kale, for example, were not familiar for residents. Pink shakes, however, were more reminiscent of strawberry milkshakes, and were often better received. The team met on a weekly basis to discuss how each resident was reacting, and tailored the shakes accordingly.
The smoothies are made using the same fresh produce that is used by the dining team, carefully blended to provide the same nutritional boost as the prescribed shakes. Each shake was analysed to ensure that it met protein, calorie and micronutrient contributions, crucial to maintaining the health of each resident.
The trial was a major success; residents have been enjoying the smoothies and in turn have been receiving the nutritional boost that they need. Even residents who were not previously considered to need prescribed shakes have been enlisted on the programme.
The fresh smoothies are now served in each of Sunrise’s 27 UK communities. Alan’s drive and passion has therefore directly contributed to ensuing thousands of Sunrise residents enjoy the highest standards of food and nutrition, with the wider lessons learned from this programme having potential benefit for the population as a whole.
The Cost Sector Catering Awards take place at the Hilton London Metropole on the 31st March.
Liz McLauchlan, General Manager, Sunrise of Guilford said:
“We are so proud of Alan, he has worked extremely hard, and his drive, passion and innovation deserve praise, recognition and reward. The ambition behind all of his work is improving the quality of life for Sunrise’s residents.
“Nutritious food is hugely important, especially for older people, and Sunrise chefs regularly prepare attractive, appetising dishes for residents with a range of dietary requirements, demonstrating how specialised food can still be delicious and appetising.”
Alan Simpson, Dining Services Co-ordinator at Sunrise of Guildford said:
“Obviously it is nice to be recognised for this award, but the real joy has been seeing the amazing impact that using fresh ingredients and experimenting with colour has made to the nutrition of our residents. The ability to tailor shakes to the preferences of individual people means that every week we keep improving and varying our offering, which has revolutionised the care we are able to provide”.