The Perks of Outsourcing to Aged Catering Services (And the Long-Term Outlook)
For centuries, aged care homes provided the elderly with accommodation and assistance with day to day tasks like cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning and even personal care like bathing, dressing or going to the toilet. And while the aged care homes of the past did all the cooking and serving of food to the residents by themselves, today there’s a new trend of outsourcing these to aged care catering companies. Here’s a look at the perks of outsourcing food services to external firms, and what’s the long-term outlook for this.
The Benefits of Outsourcing to Aged Care Catering Firms
Should an age care facility decide to engage with experienced and innovative aged care catering companies, outsourcing food services can help to position the senior living organization to fully complement, as well as embrace the benefits of what’s called a “new culture of change” within the senior care community.
Among the benefits of outsourcing to aged care catering companies is lower food costs. Volume purchasing contracts provide food management firms bulk buying power, and generating food cost savings which they pass on to residents, and to the outlying community.
The second benefit of outsourcing to aged care catering companies includes higher operational efficiencies. Like, outsourcing food service purchasing, employee recruitment, training, benefits management and scheduling can lead to major savings in human resources expenses, administrative time, fewer service interruptions from any unplanned gaps in coverage and the ability to turn potential service disruptions into positive aged care dining experiences.
The third major benefit of outsourcing to aged care catering companies is superior service. Why superior service? Because an experienced and innovative aged care catering service will likely have the resources to provide ongoing employee development and training.
A well-trained staff with updated knowledge of regulations, safety and food quality standards, as well as all the aspects of senior dining should lead to a major improvement in the quality of service that aged care homes deliver to their residents.
The fourth tangible benefit of outsourcing to experienced and well-trained aged care catering companies is reduced risks. Keeping up with the confusing web of food management regulations and safety standards can be quite overwhelming, especially for short-staffed aged care homes, especially with the expectation to deliver personalized services.
However, when the senior care facility works with knowledgeable and experienced aged care catering companies, especially with the ones who have a good track record in senior dining, can reduce the liabilities that are inherent in high-risk work environments. This helps the facility steer clear of potential non-compliance penalties or costs.
Outsourcing the dining and food service aspect to aged care catering companies helps aged care homes achieve better outcomes. Like, safe and professionally-trained employees with competitive benefits and pay are more skilled, more motivated and more committed to building a career of service to their residents.
As happy and contented employees often lead to happier senior care home residents, this should also provide more positive outcomes for the community in general. More importantly, a strategy of outsourcing assisted living food services to a third-party provide should allow the management team to better focus on other vital areas of senior care.
Cultural Trends Are Changing Long-term Senior Care Dining
In the aged care food service industry, there are a couple of trends that are having a major impact on senior resident dining, as well as elderly dietary nutrition, among these include “culture change”.
The term “culture change” is more than just a catch-phrase, because it has evolved to mean person-centered care or resident-directed care. This innovative, refreshing and enlightened approach is transforming how assisted living facilities and communities are delivering care to today’s more empowered generations of seniors who want more variety and a better lifestyle.
With “culture change”, the focus is now on resident participation, satisfaction and well-being. In one word, it’s all about choice. Satisfaction surveys in aged care homes have identified a strong correlation between innovative dining programs and overall contentment of residents.
A study done by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has shown that meals and activities are the daily focus of residents, and that food services as well as mealtime or dining experience consistently influence resident satisfaction with facilities and overall quality of life.
The Ability to Work with a Forward-Thinking Food Service Provider
Seasoned and innovative aged care catering companies who truly care about, and want to be an active participant in cultural changes with respect to aged care food services, must be aware of the new food choices and preferences in older adults and seniors, and must be forward-looking with how they deliver services to residents.
This means providing residents with the choice of eating where, when and what they want, as well as serving them their favorite recipes, as well as offering a wide array of international cuisines and even gluten-free options, and cooking with locally-sourced food.
These professional aged-care food services can also provide more opportunities to socialize and celebrate special occasions with food, and eventually turn everyday meals into causes for celebrations.
And, integrating the expertise of aged care catering companies with a highly-specialised portfolio of services into an aged care homes day to day operations can drive culture change overnight with new and innovative services and management efficiencies.
This unique strategy has also shown the ability to enhance the overall senior living experience, while at the same time considerably reducing operating expenses, increasing staff retention, reducing staff absenteeism and bringing higher occupancy rates.
And of course, aged care facilities will also gain other concrete and highly-competitive advantages when its residents are happy, engaged and speak positively or favorably about their pleasurable dining experiences with family members, friends and relatives.