Care in the kitchen

An increasing number of care homes are encouraging residents to help out in the kitchen. Is your kitchen ready?

Over the average lifetime, we spend around 3 solid years in our kitchens. For many care home clients, their own kitchen will have been a hub of activity at the centre of family life, the time they spent there forming a fundamental part of their daily routine.

When moving into a care home, many clients miss the hustle and bustle of the kitchen: preparing food, making tea, chatting over chores. It can be a huge adjustment for residents to suddenly find the kitchen door closed – and those familiar activities removed from their day-to-day.

The College of Occupational Therapists recently developed a Living Well through Activity tool kit to encourage care home managers to keep residents active and participating in enjoyable chores, particularly preparing food, gardening and small domestic tasks like polishing.

The author of the guide, Karin Tancock, states in her introduction; "Keeping active and occupied is crucial for people in care homes who risk serious health complications if they are left with nothing to do. People need activity; it is simply vital for a healthy body and mind."

Risk assessments
It’s obviously crucial that any risks to residents are assessed before they are encouraged to take part. A kitchen can be a dangerous place, but with supervision and assessment, many care home residents will enjoy being able to take part and regain a sense of independence.

For activities in the kitchen, layout is key to safety; a well-considered kitchen plan that makes space for residents and staff is crucial. Making sure that the kitchen can hold-up to additional wear and tear is also important: a kitchen that is easy to clean and tidy, like a semi-commercial steel framed model, makes it easier for residents to get involved without causing too much strain on staff.

Safe spaces
Another solution for many residential care homes is to create a kitchen area separate from the main catering space, where residents can enjoy making tea, getting a snack or even helping with food preparation, without being susceptible to the dangers of a busy kitchen.

These ‘satellite’ areas have proven popular, helping residents to feel at home and continue with their old routines. Again, many benefit from the feeling of independence that being able to make a cup of coffee when they feel like it, or being able to entertain visitors as they would have in their own homes, brings.

A semi-commercial kitchen is perfect for these spaces, as it combines a domestic look with the hard-wearing build of a commercial steel kitchen. At Steelplan Kitchens, our experts have delivered bespoke solutions for care homes for over 30 years, fitting flexible catering kitchens and satellite spaces in residential homes across the UK.

To find out more about how our kitchens could benefit your business, call us on 0844 809 9186.