Nursing home saves senior program

A spirit of cooperation between a small Montana nursing home and a struggling Meals On Wheels (MOW) program has kept the senior feeding program alive. Candy Vincent, dietary manager at 38-bed Madison Valley Manor, in Ennis, Mont., says her skilled nursing facility saved the tiny program earlier this year by bringing it into the home.

“[The MOW program was] facing two challenges,” Vincent explains. “They were losing their location and they couldn’t operate in the black. I put a plan in place to move the program to our facility to solve the location problem and have our kitchen cook lunch for them to help their financial problem.”

Vincent adds one extra cook in the kitchen on the days the senior meals are prepared. The cost of the additional employee is split 50/50 between MOW and Madison Valley, reducing the MOW’s labor cost by about 65%.“We bill them a flat monthly rate, $3,300, that is evaluated every six months to make sure the program can afford it and our facility is not losing money,” she says.

The MOW program is small, currently delivering meals to six people in town and feeding another 15 or so three days a week in a congregate setting at Madison Valley.

“We have a sun room in our building that does not get used during dining times, which gives them a nice place to eat with a view,” she explains.

Vincent says the nursing home also has benefited from the partnership. “It allowed us to make some additions to our menu that I previously didn’t have the labor to do,” she notes. “For example, we added fresh same-day baking like cakes from scratch, etc. We serve them the same food that our residents eat, which is easier than making an entirely different meal.”

Vincent suggests that the arrangement has enhanced the public’s perception of Madison Valley.

“Our facility is now more involved in the community and our residents feel like they are helping out by allowing them to come and eat in their home,” she says. “The Meals On Wheels people are getting quality meals that are dietitian approved. It also has allowed the community to see that we don’t cook ‘institution food’. We even have some [participants] come and eat with our residents on days that Meals On Wheels is closed.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

FSD Resources