Care home diet is not too good

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by Nell45, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Nell45

    Nell45 Registered User

    Feb 11, 2016
    near Dundee
    I am absolutely raging at the care home my hubby has been in for over a year,
    unfortuneately I can't move him anywhere else. They are quite good in other ways.

    He has advanced Alzheimers, coeliac disease and has been glucose intolerant for several years.
    He is supposed to be on a low fat, low salt and low sugar diet, with loads of fruit and veg. and he has not been according to his menu sheets which I had to moan for months to get a copy of.
    He has been getting sweetened fruit, not fresh and sugar in tea, even although he never took sugar, I am sick of saying that too when I go to visit (oh scream here) and the odd banana.
    Weight loss has been going on for months, down to just over 9 stone, but the home always say he is getting enough for his needs.

    His latest blood tests show iron deficiency and all his vitamins and stuff are low,
    and his sugar level is raised, I have had a phone call from his doctor.
    Likely will now be diabetic when the second blood test results come through.
    Dietician called and put the weight loss down to recent change to mashed food, only been a few weeks. :(
    Home are now agreeing after all this time and much moaning from me, to increase fruit and veg and hopefully add some kind of good red meat.
    I will be checking up on this.
    They are supposed to be trained up on coeliac disease diets and have a certificate.
    I feel like reporting all this to somebody. Guess I am just letting off steam.
    Thanks for your web site, I often browse but have never posted before.

  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Nell

    Is there any possibility your husband is being given a choice when the menu comes around. I found out by accident my husband was being given a choice.

    In the first place he was unable to choose, but in the second place, when he heard something from the menu he fancied, even if we never had it at home he would choose it.

    The home had a choice of fresh or processed food and invariably he chose the processed. Don`t ask me why. He was always into good quality food pre dementia.

    I told the cook to try to steer him towards the home cooked food whenever possible.
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    If he has a diagnosed medical condition, which he does, he should have a special menu sheet and the home shouldn't be giving him a choice outside of those needs. It sounds to me as though there are a number of professionals who are not working together to ensure his needs are met. I would put into writing to the Manager just what you said here in the first post. Usually a written complaint or simply raising of issues gets a better and quicker and more coordinated response. It sounds as though your doctor is supporting this. You can complain to the CQC but my first stop in this instance would probably be the Manager as you obviously need to sort out the diet as soon as you can.
  4. Nell45

    Nell45 Registered User

    Feb 11, 2016
    near Dundee
    Hello Grannie G, Sadly he cannot make any choices, can't do anything and can't speak anymore.
    He is fed by the carer whatever is sent up from the kitchen for him.
    While he was still mobile, until about six months ago,
    like your husband, would eat anything, even food he would never eat at home.
    Must say I have never seen any fresh food on the menu.

    And he did have the best of everything with me at home until it all got too much,
    and never a deficiency in anything.

    God bless you. It is such a relief to share.
  5. Nell45

    Nell45 Registered User

    Feb 11, 2016
    near Dundee
    Hello fizzie, My head has been so mixed up about this I couldn't think,
    it was such a shock to see his menu, and then get the call from the doctor
    but your response has helped me sort it out.
    He does not have a special menu sheet that I know of.
    He gets variations on the main menu that everybody gets as far as I can see.
    I do agree that professionals are not working together, the newer carers are
    not being made aware of his dietary needs. I have seen that for myself when I have been present at elevenses time.
    I have brought up many times about his diet when I visit, and at
    reviews (I am like an old record repeating the same things)and they have been noted,
    but clearly are not being followed through as you say.
    I have now asked for a copy of his 'new' menu for the next week and see if there is any significant improvement.
    I will put my concerns in writing to the manager and see what happens. I will also be updating the doctor about what is going on.

    Thank you so very much.
  6. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I'm glad it helped Nell.
    I feel for you, you've done so much and it's all such a worry but if the care is good and you can get this bit sorted out, hopefully you husband won't have any more difficulty with digestion. Always in care homes if you put concerns in writing they really have to deal with it because they are all looked at and question when the Inspectors come in.
    I'm sure you are right it is a lack of communication between the staff and hopefully when you raise it they will deal with it immediately
    Good luck, do keep posting there is a lot of support on here
  7. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I've wondered about this one too, my wife is in a ward with about 20 other people and when it comes to meal times food is given out quite arbitrarily (it seems to me).
    There are no special meals (that I've ever seen and I'm there most evening meal time) for anyone and the choice of who gets what seems to be decided by the staff so people who aren't wearing their dentures can be given a pork chop and roast potatoes and someone with their own teeth gets the savoury mince and mash, what's the logic in that I sometimes wonder.
    I've never heard anyone say that a patient is diabetic so shouldn't have a dessert or indeed that someone shouldn't have the pork chop for religious reasons.
  8. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    The weight loss and vitamin deficiencies suggest that the coeliac is not being properly managed, with resulting malabsorption. I would expect there to be significant diarrhoea too, have you seen any evidence of this?

    This is not the only case where I have heard of medically prescribed diets being disregarded, it really is no acceptable :mad: I know there might be an element of food being the last remaining pleasure but that is not a decision to be made by the care home.

    Maybe you could emphasise that hubby would get less diarrhoea (if that has indeed been the case) with a properly managed diet, which would make things easier for the carers too?
  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I was thinking the same thing slugsta.
  10. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    The more I read and about and experience the effects of various diets on PWD, the more it seems to me that every PWD (every person, come to that) really needs a diet to be arrived at, by knowledge of them and by experimentation, that meets their particular needs (and in cases like the one raised here the consequences of the person not getting the right diet are potentially serious).

    What are the chances of this happening in any CH or hospital?
  11. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Amazingly I think there is next to no chance in most hospitals where they should be the most skilled. Some care homes are really really good at this but many are poor and too many are very poor. If we complain in writing then it should improve things and often does, sometimes I think it just gets 'lost' in the general care regimes but it shouldn't and the only way of correcting it is by formal complaint - sadly!
  12. Nell45

    Nell45 Registered User

    Feb 11, 2016
    near Dundee
    #12 Nell45, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    Sorry I have not responded to your messages, I really appreciate all the feedback. I am in a bit of a state, head and emotions all over the place, but you are all right. I have been contacted by the medical centre and have appointment for Tuesday with the doctor to discuss latest blood tests. I am also going to ask if hubby is fit enough to have a gastroscope to see if coeliac is being managed properly and will be guided by her
    I will get back once I know what the story is from the doctor.

    Also letter of complaint is half done at the monet, have to get it right.

    Bless you all for you support.
  13. BillBRNC

    BillBRNC Registered User

    Jan 26, 2016
    USA NC
    At the stage your husband is apparently at, I would think it a great success to get him to eat regular basis. I would hope they could serve him food that he likes and that isn't harmful to his specific health problems. Anyway, good luck.
  14. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    You take care of yourself in all of this. It's easy to lose your needs in the needs of the person you are looking after. You need some rest and some relaxation, I hope you have local friends to support you too. Yes do please let us know when you have heard from the doc x

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