Family experience with food | HQCA Focus

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Family experience with food

How family members rated the food at their loved one’s site, in a 2022-23 survey.  (see data definition)

Please note: Not all continuing care sites in Alberta met the HQCA’s public reporting criteria. To see what’s available at a site level, visit this page of the HQCA’s 2022-23 Facility-based Continuing Care Report.

What do you think?

  • Why does a family member’s experience with the food at their loved one’s site matter?
  • Are there differences between zones? Between providers? Between mainly rural and urban zones or sites? What factors could account for these differences?
  • How are family experience results around food different in designated supportive living?

Understanding “family experience with their loved one’s food”

In a survey conducted in 2022-23, the HQCA asked family members of residents living in long term care:

Using any number from 0 to 10 where 0 is the worst food possible and 10 is the best food possible, what number would you use to rate the food at this continuing care home?

Family members could choose a number from 0 to 10.

Experiences with food, including things like quality, variety, and dietary needs, are important to both resident and family experience and quality of life. Better food ratings are found to be associated with more positive overall experience with care and services from the family member’s perspective.

Considerations when viewing the results:

There are a number of factors providers and leaders can consider to better understand and improve family members’ rating of the food at their loved one’s home/facility. Before taking action, consider the following:

  • This measure depicts an overall rating of food, which may be made up of different experiences with food including taste, temperature, smell, presentation, texture, variety, and diet (requirement or preference). What specific aspects of the food experience might family members be thinking about when rating the food?
  • How might family member experiences with the food served at a site differ from resident experiences? How does the family member interact with food at the site (e.g., family dining options)? How are both experiences considered when deciding what improvements to make to food service?
  • How do family members stay informed about the dietary restrictions or needs of their loved ones, and how might this impact their rating of the food?
  • Sites face many challenges when preparing meals for their residents, like puree diets; other dietary restrictions like allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances; resident preference; and cost. What are some other challenges? What can we learn from others doing well in this area to improve?
  • Is food prepared on-site or remotely? How might this impact this result?
  • How might cultural differences influence family experience with food?
  • How might other aspects of the dining experience affect these results (e.g., food presentation, dishware, napkins, dining environment, etc.)?
  • Which Long Term Care Accommodation Standard(s) does this question help inform, if any?
  • Which Continuing Care Health Service Standard(s) does this question help inform, if any?
  • Who should be involved in discussions to improve these results? How could residents and/or family members be engaged to develop solutions (e.g., engage the resident and family council)? What other collaboration might be required to make improvements in this area?

For information about the HQCA’s Facility-based Continuing Care Survey, please visit the HQCA website.

Alberta Quality Matrix for Health

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess long term care’s performance in this dimension of quality: Acceptability.