What is a Resident Food Committee?

In long term care settings and rehabilitation hospitals and even in other institutional settings that provided extended care, the creation of a foodservice committee made up residents, family, and staff is critical to the success of a dietary functional program. A Foodservice Committee should be formed to help plan, review, and revise the menu as needed. The Foodservice Committee should be comprised of residents from all floors, staff representatives from all floors and dietary staff. Family members should be welcomed to attend meetings and offer comments.

The Foodservice Committee should meet regularly. They should follow the committee’s mandate, mission, and meeting requirements. Clear policies must be established so that the committee realizes its own boundaries. Clear and concrete terms of reference must be established in order for the committee to be effective.

Tasks that can be delegated to the committee can be as follows:

• participants could assume responsibility for developing quality assurance criteria and conduct some audits
• testing new foods and menu items for acceptability
• touring outside food manufacturing locations and meeting key supplier personnel
• participate in presentations by food manufactures
• develop combinations of food products on the menu that will provide a variety of textures, colours and tastes
• the visioning and preparation that is required for special event dining programs celebrating key holidays and cultural events

The committee could also help develop resident food surveys, while, in addition, help in applying the survey process.

Staff can be assigned to mentor a resident and help them participate to their fullest extent.

Meetings should be held at least once a month with minutes and these should be made public to the facility.