Glimpses of Brilliance: Ice Cream Cart

Beenstock home in Salford has been testing out some fun new ways to engage residents in their food choices.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, care homes are adapting and making many changes to keep their residents safe, however some of these changes can have an impact on mealtime routines and reduce appetite. Resident’s rooms are now being used for much more than just sleeping, particularly for those being kept in isolation.

“we are keen for our residents to continue to be able to make choices about their food, even when on modified or restricted diets”.

Beenstock Home Manager

What was the idea?

The activity co-ordinator came up with the idea of an ice cream cart. Residents were asked what flavours they would like, and these were then purchased and put together on an “ice cream cart” which was taken around the home and garden. Residents were offered their choice of ice cream, including different combinations and toppings – just like a real ice cream cart.

What happened as a result?

Everyone enjoyed it! This was a simple idea, but involving the residents ensured they got something they wanted. The trolley and extra toppings made this into a fun treat which brightened up everyone’s day. The care home manager highlighted that involving the activity co-ordinator meant that this was able to happen quickly in the hot weather.

What else can we do?

The team of community dietitians in Salford are working to support care homes by providing some helpful tips and ideas for care homes to prevent malnutrition:

  • Ensure residents have a table that looks like a dinner table to eat from. Use a table cloth and napkins to set the scene before mealtimes are due, and make sauces and condiments available.
  • Open the window to provide some fresh air during meal times and to prevent the smell of food from lingering in residents bedrooms
  • Leave snack boxes in rooms, with treats such as cakes, biscuits, dried fruit, malt loaf, etc. where appropriate within the residents diet plan
  • Radios and music can provide relaxation or background noise during meal times, if not used throughout the day
  • Offer fortified milkshakes twice a day for residents who are losing weight or underweight
  • Continue to monitor residents at risk of malnutrition by regular weighing where possible, or using a tape measure where it is not possible to use the scales safely