During these unprecedented times, physical distancing in the Dining Rooms has become the “new normal” and during these difficult times, we continue to try to do our best to ensure we are keeping Residents and staff safe! Though guidelines are changing for the process of Family visits, it is very important to continue to follow the recommendations, recommended by Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Outbreak Guidance for Long-Term Care Homes (LTCH) by maintaining a minimum of 2 meters between Residents during meal service. This, along with ensuring Residents hands are washed before and after the meals and the use of proper sanitization between meals, will aid in reducing the risk of potential exposure and the spread of Covid-19.
Consider the following when providing physical distancing in the Dining Rooms:
- Spread out the Resident’s tables and chairs
- If possible, have only 1 Resident at a table (best practice) or use barriers (i.e plexi glass)
- Use over-bed tables, other small tables or table trays for a wheelchairs (if approved)
- Get creative with dining area locations, have tables set up in the lounge across from the Dining Room or in the TV room- Supervision is required!
- Residents at high risk for choking/dysphagia or Residents who may require more assistance, may need to be in a dining setting and more appropriately suited for eating their meals in the Dining Room
- Consider one-way traffic for staff when seating Residents, serving and clearing dishes
- Have several seating times – stagger or flex meal times as needed
- It’s summer time and the perfect opportunity to have a BBQ once a week and rotate small groups of Residents each week to join
Though we continue to take great precautions during meal service in the Dining Rooms, it is important to ensure we do our best to make meal service an enjoyable and pleasurable experience for all Residents!
To read more about Pleasurable Dining and how to achieve it, check out this article Seasons Care President, Carol Donovan RD wrote for the Spring 2020 issue of OSNM’s Trillium Newsletter. Read the Article on page 8, Here!
Remember! Physical distancing does not mean we are removing the “social” aspect of eating and dining. Continue to engage with our Residents during meal service and make it fun!