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Meet the team


  • Christine Futter
  • Caroline Newman
  • Carrie Ann Higgs

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to your chosen theme?

We want to develop care home cookery as a career pathway in its own right in the care sector; one that makes a massive contribution to the health and wellbeing of residents in care homes.

We want to provide a qualification that assures everyone that the person who is cooking in the kitchen can not only provide adequate nutrition for people with dementia but can safely produce appetising, nourishing food that complies with special dietary needs and can enhance the quality of life for care home residents.

This should be open to the learning disabilities care sector where care support workers often cook alongside their clients– they are doing this with little training or investment in developing their practical cooking skills and knowledge of nutrition and special dietary needs.

Aspiration pneumonitis is an increasing cause of unplanned admission at a cost to the system in Norfolk of 3.75m last year; care home cooks need the skills to comply with IDDSI and still produce good food.

What does your project aim to achieve?

We see the development of care home cooks as vital to the reduction in problems associated with dysphagia – in receiving good nutrition and hydration and in reducing the incidence of aspiration pneumonitis.

Food and drink are key parts of wellbeing and health, often being an enjoyable part of care and activity for care home residents. Developing care home cook’s skills should enhance the quality of life for care home residents.

We will be able to deliver the course to two cohorts with our chosen partner in higher education.

The outcomes are:

·         reduced rates of unplanned admission for aspiration pneumonitis

·         reduction in malnutrition scores

·         increased CQC compliance re food and drink

·         improved feedback from residents, families and friends re food and drink

·         confidence and satisfaction scores from course participants

How will the project be delivered?

The idea was generated by care home providers and has been shaped by discussion with care managers.

The project team comprises representatives from Hassingham House Care Centre, Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support LTD, North & South Norfolk CCGs.

Homes where quality issues around food and drink have been identified by CQC and QA teams will be actively recruited

The course will be delivered by the chosen provider who has an established high profile school of hospitality and catering and robust evaluation system.

The funding will pay for two courses with 16 candidates per course.

The added value of the course will evidence:

·         a best practice model for excellent nutrition and hydration care within a care setting

·         potential for commissioning across STP as part of workforce development

·         care providers to be incentivised to apply for WDF to support cost of course

·         potential for adding to contractual requirement for care providers in contract to local authority or CHC

What and how is your project going to share learning throughout?

We will actively seek feedback from stakeholders during and after the course as well measuring outcomes.

We expect that the outcomes and impact of the course will be shared across the STP to our health and social care colleagues;  regionally with our counterparts and nationally via the Enhanced Health in Care Homes  futureNHS work space.

There are implications for workforce recruitment and retention within the social care workforce by developing care homes cookery as career pathway . This may open up the care sector to people for whom it had not been a consideration before . It may also offer another employment avenue for those who wish to cook professionally but for whom a commercial kitchen is not a comfortable  environment

How you can contribute

  • Expert - has anyone done this already , top tips please!
  • Strategist - any ideas for getting sustainable funding or commissioning for the course in this constrained financial climate
  • any help from potential collaborators or promoters very welcome

Plan timeline

31 Jan 2020 Agree project SRO and governance process
31 Jan 2020 confirm course provider
29 Feb 2020 advertise course and invite applications
29 Feb 2020 confirm first cohort
29 Feb 2020 establish availability of local experts for course
29 Feb 2020 plan clear and timely communications with key stakeholders
29 Feb 2020 review applications for first cohort
31 Mar 2020 collect baseline outcome data
30 Apr 2020 cohort 1 course commences
30 Jun 2020 invite and confirm applications for cohort 2
30 Sep 2020 cohort 2 course commence
31 Oct 2020 Cohort 1 course completion
31 Oct 2020 monthly meetings project team and provider to mitigate risk
30 Nov 2020 collect outcome data cohort 1
30 Nov 2020 evaluate outcomes for cohort 1
31 Jan 2021 create plan to share course evaluation across sytem
31 Mar 2021 cohort 2 course completion
30 Apr 2021 evaluate cohort 2 course
31 May 2021 write evaluation report
30 Jun 2021 share evaluation report and next steps


  1. Hi Kate fantastic to see this included let me know if I can help Barbara

    1. Thanks Barbara - you can be sure I will be knocking on your door for guidance!

  2. Dear Kate,

    what a creative idea and in such an area of high need. I heard about a fantastic toolkit you might be interested in that was developed in Ireland. It’s called the Nutrition Supports toolkit to assist healthcare professionals screen for and manage malnutrition in the community. They have developed a really cool cookbook for people that need a high calorie, high protein diet called ‘making the most of every bite’. You can see it at

    Hope you like it 😊

    warm wishes and good luck



    1. Thanks Anna

      will check the link out!

  3. I think this is a good idea, Kate. I hope the program might also include in the future  training in preparation of food for those with allergies as well and how to make this an allergy-friendly environment.

    1. HI Elizabeth

      I hope the curriculum will cover this as well - if not we will put it in! Thank you for thinking of it

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