Transforming The Willows
Paul Swithenbank took over The Willows on Lancashire's Fylde Coast with ambitious plans to transform the home, which has seen several owners in its 20 year history.
Improving resident wellbeing
One of the first priorities was overhauling its catering operations. At the time, an in-house cook worked a few days a week, with carers helping out at other times. “I wasn’t happy that carers were in the kitchen as it took them away from the priority of caring for residents. “The other issue was that, while the food was tasty, it wasn’t especially well presented or particularly nutritious and the choice was ‘take it or leave it.’ For me, that was unacceptable.”
Another factor for Paul was a resident suffering with chewing and swallowing difficulties that faced being fed through a tube for the rest of her life. “Blended food just wasn’t working for her, so PEG-feeding seemed the only way.” With a background in food technology, Paul knew about apetito’s texture-modified range and decided to find out more. “The texture-modified range was perfect for us, but I also wanted a total system that would cater for all our residents. I was impressed by the consistently high quality of apetito’s meals, particularly the colour and presentation. “Before making the decision, I went to apetito’s kitchens to see how they made their food. It was just like ours except on a bigger scale, which was very reassuring.”
All residents at The Willows are weighed weekly and every single one of them has gained weight since apetito’s meals were introduced, including those who have previously struggled to maintain a healthy level. "The sister of one resident who has been here just three weeks has said her brother is already looking much healthier – and the food he receives must play a big part of that improvement.”
"The meals were a big hit, especially when they heard how the nutrients are preserved during the freezing process, making the food often more nutritious than traditional care home catering."
Introducing apetito allowed carers to focus on caring for residents
apetito’s meals were consistently appetising, delicious and nutritious
The Texture Modified dishes meant every resident could look forward to a great meal
Every resident gained weight after introducing apetito meals
Paul’s next step was to get the residents and their relatives involved. “I wanted to be completely transparent about the changes, and invited relatives to a tasting session. “The meals were a big hit, especially when they heard how the nutrients are preserved during the freezing process, making the food often more nutritious than traditional care home catering.”
"If the CQC inspected us today, I could tell them the exact nutritional content of every single meal we serve"
The support Paul receives from apetito on an ongoing basis includes a nutritional planning tool that provides the home with detailed nutritional information for every meal served. Not only does this help him communicate with relatives and specialists about the daily lives of residents, it also ensures that The Willows is ready for a CQC Dignity and Nutrition Inspection at any time.
“Having a 28-day rolling menu means if the CQC inspected us today, I could tell them the exact nutritional content of every single meal we serve. The fact that all our residents are served food that not only gives them the nutrition they need, but that they also look forward to eating is a major part of making life better for them. Just because they’re in care, why should that basic right be taken away from them?”
"It was clear they shared the same principles and values as we did and, because we're both family-owned businesses, that really resonated with me. The level of attention, communication and support we received from apetito from the get-go was pivotal and has helped us subsequently build a fantastic relationship."
The Willows receive ongoing support from their dedicated apetito account manager.
Transforming the home
"The sister of one resident who has been here just three weeks has said her brother is already looking much healthier – and the food he receives must play a big part of that improvement"
Founder Chairman and Chief Executive, The Willows, Blackpool