KIM Q&A with Grind Dining founding Chefs;
Sarah Gorham & Stone Morris.
- KIM – The Grind Dining method is revolutionizing the way food is delivered and enjoyed by those living with Dementia, in professional settings. Can you please share with our readers; the ‘basics’ behind your methods and the benefits for those who thrive with this style of culinary experience?
GD – Grind Dining is a dining solution and program designed for those afflicted with cognitive or physical limitations that find eating with utensils challenging and frustrating. The Grind Dining technique uses cooked and freshly ground proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrates as a base for each entrée that are prepared into bite-sized offerings, eliminating the need to use utensils. Residents are not marginalized due to their cognitive or physical limitations and enjoy and eat the same foods as everyone else in the dining room, preserving their dignity, independence, and nutritional needs. The Grind Dining service program engages the residents and sets a positive environment to maintain an enjoyable and dignified dining experience.
Grind Dining Benefits:
- Promotes Independence and Dignity – Residents who once needed assistance during meals due to their inability to use utensils are now able to use their hands in a dignified way and eat more independently.
- Reduces Caregiver Workload at Mealtimes – Grind Dining encourages self-feeding and the resident’s use of hand-eye coordination.
- Eliminates the Need for a Separate Menu – Residents are able to enjoy the same delicious and varied meals and foods as their families, friends, and others in their community.
- Increased Nutritional Value – Using the Grind Dining technique, the top sources of protein, such as meat, can be included in each meal in a way that is easy to chew, swallow, and digest that is easy to handle.
- Better Clinical Outcomes – Grind Dining allows more nutritional consumption, greater resident intake, and the presentation of foods allows residents to eat in a more dignified manner, increasing socialization.
2. KIM – Professional Dementia care providers aren’t known for being ‘open-to-innovation’ easily. How has Grind Dining been able to infiltrate the industry with your innovative vision and methods?
GD – Grind Dining was started in 2013 and designed, developed, and implemented the Dining with Dignity program for the Arbor Company. The program was awarded the ALFA 2014 Best of the Best Award in May, 2014. This was a great honor for Grind Dining to have the endorsement and support of our solution and dining program by the leading senior assisted living professional organization.
We have introduced the senior assisted living industry to Grind Dining through social media; website blogs; mailings; internet radio programs; client presentations and tastings. We have had great interest in our program. We continue to seek out forward thinking companies that recognize the need for our solution and see how their residents and organization may benefit from Grind Dining.
As part of our training program for clients, we do a Grind Dining Taste Panel and Orientation for the community staff on day one. It’s a great way for the staff to experience Grind Dining and take ownership of the program and its overall success. Caregiver’s response to Grind Dining has been wonderful.
3. KIM – Implementing the Grind Dining methods, must take staff training. Please share how those Culinary folks you’ve trained have benefitted from this new direction in food delivery?
GD – When designing and developing the Grind Dining solution we knew that the technique could not be overcomplicated and that it could be streamlined into production. After testing and piloting the program, we found that you do not need to be a chef to perform our techniques and that Grind Dining methods may be performed by entry level kitchen staff successfully after our training program.
As part of our services, we provide hands-on training for both the culinary staff and caregivers on memory care services standards. We provide a Dining Director Toolkit to support the program’s success and sustainability.
Once the culinary staff has been trained and demonstrated the competencies needed to perform our methods, they have been able to create their own menu items using the Grind Dining technique. This gives the staff great creative freedom to produce dishes that may be their specialty or resident’s favorites into Grind Dining menu items with excellent outcomes.
4. KIM – Your program includes providing the professionals with templates that enable them to measure dining services and resident satisfaction after the Grind methods are in place. Can you share examples of success with our readers?
GD – Grind Dining Memory Care surveys are administered and completed by the caregivers for 4 or 5 weeks when training/implementing at the “Pioneer Community” of an organization. Results measured are:
- resident intake
- accessibility of Grind Dining menu items
- overall resident satisfaction
- culinary principles of food temperature and plate presentations.
Results of these surveys and successes of the Grind Dining program include:
- Resident intake up by 30% for those eating the Grind Dining menu items.
- Reduction in the number of caregivers needed at meal service.
- Greater independence for the residents.
- Positive feedback from family members of loved ones eating Grind Dining meals.
5. KIM – What’s next for Grind Dining? Any plans on the horizon to bring this innovative food delivery method to family caregivers, who care for their loved one at home?
GD – We intend to continue educating /training senior assisted living caregivers and healthcare professionals on the Grind Dining solution and program for those with cognitive and physical limitations.
As a longer range plan, we’d like to provide a foodservice solution for the home caregiver who are feeding loved ones or clients with cognitive and physical limitations.