My crystal ball is in the shop for repairs, so my predictions of 2013 food trends for long-term care Dining & Nutrition Services may be a little off kilter.
Person Centered Care
Those Pioneers certainly started something big more than a decade ago. Personal choice, with the full backing of CMS, will continue to make headway in eating decisions such as when to eat, which dining room, what foods, and how much. The average American snacks two to three times per day.
Providers vying for a larger market share are offering short-term rehab accommodations similar to a 5-star hotel. Restaurant style dining will be available in richly appointed dining rooms. Look for patients to prefer the privacy of room service during their rehab stay. These baby boomers will be seeking heart-healthy antioxidant-rich selections such as salmon, green tea, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, berries, and whole grains.
The cost of food is going to increase by 4% to 5% this year after the drought of last year. Look for more efficient use of food versus a decrease in food quality.
Go green by decreasing food waste. The National Resources Defense Council reports 40% of the food in the US goes uneaten. The excess may be from over purchasing, over production, or over portioning. Take steps this year to analyze your menu, recipes, and personal choices of your elders to prevent food waste.
Preventing hospital readmissions will be a priority for rehab centers and their census. Congestive Heart Failure is the current disease targeted by CMS. Nutrition therapy for CHF, 2-gram sodium diet, yuk! Look for RDs to be education these patients on healthful choices. Look for more scratch cooking in rehab units since this is the only way an honest 2 gm sodium diet is palatable. Perhaps treatment of congestive heart failure will go the way of diabetes, more medication less diet.
The overall theme for 2013 will be doing more with less. Medicare is decreasing reimbursement by 10%, food costs are rising by 5%, and government is looking to further decrease health care costs. Dining & Nutrition Services will weather the storm by listening to their patients and implementing sound suggestions.