David “Coop” Cooper came to University Heights Health and Living Community in Indianapolis after 23 years as a food service director in the Air Force. He began with one goal in mind – to elevate the dining experience for the residents. Before Coop arrived University Heights was serving 120 room trays per meal, with only 30 residents eating in the dining rooms. “That was unacceptable,” he said. “We want our residents to leave their rooms, to socialize, to exercise and to eat nutritious healthy meals.”
Coop had meetings with the resident’s council and with the nurses on the floors. He laid out a game plan of changes he would like to implement. He listened to their feedback and suggestions and armed with the information Coop designed a fine dining plan that includes tablecloths, linen napkins, flowers, silverware, and crystal.
“We let our residents choose their meals from a menu,” he said. “For example, for Wednesday’s meals we sent out the menu on Tuesday, and with the help of the nurses and CNA’s, the residents pick from the options available. Also, each menu is customized according the residents dietary needs.” There is even a second choice menu. “If a resident wants something that is not on the menu we accommodate them.” And of course there are seconds and more.
The food is served to the guests at their table by the staff. “We serve on the left and remove on the right.” The dining room experience also includes a salad bar, a steam table for the freshest food and a piano player playing soothing music.
With the number of nurses and CNA’s on the floor each resident can be closely monitored for safety and liquid and food consumption. “We know exactly how much they are eating and drinking,” Coop said. An advantage of the restaurant style dining is the socialization between guests. “The guests are out of their rooms and talking, not sitting in front of the TV eating from a tray.”
Coop envisions healthier residents. “We should see weight gain, better skin, and more regularity.” There are now only 20 room trays being served with 130 guests filling the various dining halls. Coop, his staff, the nurses and CNA’s are doing an exceptional job. It is a further testimony of the care and concern for our residents CarDon provides.
For more information about University Heights in Indianapolis call (317) 885-7050. Or visit us at: 1380 East County Line Road South, Indianapolis, and take a tour.