A cross-sectional study of meals served in residential homes in comparison with national standards
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Objective: To ascertain whether the meals provided in residential homes (RHs) in Wales fulfil the minimum recommended standards set by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Methods: A cross-sectional study of meal provision among three randomly chosen RHs in South Wales was conducted using the guidelines provided by the NACC and FSA. The menus for meals provided at these RHs on individual days were followed over a period of 14 days per RH. Total number of menus analysed was 42; each menu was considered one unit (n = 42). Further data were obtained by using a structured questionnaire. Results: Several deficiencies were identified in the practices at RHs with regard to the recommended allocations including bread with every meal, 400 mL of milk per day, five servings of fruit per day, and the provision of meat/meat alternatives at every meal. Conclusion: Despite certain study limitations such as a smaller study population and limited data availability regarding food preparation, we believe that this study has highlighted the importance of the FSA guidelines and the fact that they are not being followed in practice. Therefore, it sets a foundation for further studies that will provide mechanistic insight for research of nutritional needs and provision of adequate nutrition in RHs. Moreover, our data highlights the importance of implementing certain changes in regulations with regard to nutrition in RHs, perhaps influencing policy at a higher level.
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