Our top 10 recommendations to help you to improve the dining experience for people you support with a Dementia

This week is Nutrition and Hydration Week, a week committed to focusing energy, activity and engagement on nutrition & hydration as an important part of quality & safety in health & social care settings.

Every day this week we will be bringing you our best practice tips, helpful advice and more, designed to give you inspiration to improve nutrition and hydration levels for the people you support.

A section taken from our Dignified Dining Solutions Guide which can help you chose the right products to help your residents.
Part of our Dignified Dining Solutions Guide

Our top 10 recommendations to help you to improve the dining experience for people you support with a Dementia.

Dining rooms should be welcoming and homelike and everything about them should prompt recognition and that it is time for a meal.

1) The environment can cause anxiety and confusion for people living with a Dementia, for whom disorientation and bewilderment are a common experience. Incorporating the use of highly visible contrasting colours pictorial signage helps to establish a clear route to the dining room.

2) Food themed reminiscence images can provide a powerful memory trigger to help stimulate appetite and renew interest in food.

3) Pictorial menu boards are the most effective way to communicate different meal options available, providing helpful encouragement and supporting good nutritional intake.

4) Make eating a social activity: sit down and eat together. We know from decades of research that we are more likely to eat more in a group situation than eating on our own. Let people choose where they would like to sit and eat and sit with them at eye level either in front or to the side of them.

5) Audit your noise levels at mealtimes – noisy environments can be very distracting for people with a Dementia and can lead to reduced nutritional intake – dining rooms should be free from loud music, television and vacuum cleaners.

One of our customers recently observed that by making simple changes to the way they managed their mealtime experience meant that their residents were clearing their plates rather than picking at food, and they have seen improved nutrition levels and less food wastage.

6) Familiar sounds and smells of cooking can help to stimulate the senses such as the tinkling of cutlery and rattling the pots and pans.

7) Use plain tablecloths, and lay the table with placemats and cutlery and if you can, get the people you support involved in helping to set tables at mealtimes.

8) We all eat with our eyes first! – food should always be visually appealing incorporating different colours and appetising presentation , including pureed meals.

9) Make the effort to maintain people’s dignity and independence with eating and drinking by providing suitable aids i.e. adapted cutlery and crockery, nonslip mats and keep warm plates for slow eaters.

10) Use brightly coloured crockery and drinking vessels to support people and make food and drink more visible and appetising. This will enable improved nutrition and hydration and increase the social benefits of mealtimes.

If you’ve missed our previous blogs discussing key topics on nutrition and hydration and would like more help and tips to improve your residents’ dining experience and improve their nutrition and hydration levels, check out our blogs here.

Also please feel free to pop back each day during #nutritionandhydrationweek as we share best practice advice on these important issues and we’d love you to join our mailing list where we regularly share the knowledge and experience we have gained working in the care sector for over 25 years, helping to keep you in touch with new and innovative solutions which support safety and dignity for the people you support.

You can also order your copy of our Dignified Dining Solutions Guide, designed to help people with a Dementia to eat better, by calling us on the number below.

As always, you can contact us on 01773 713713 or sales@hcsuk.co.uk to discuss how we can help you and those in your care.


If you would like to learn more about Nutrition&Hydration week and get involved yourselves then head on over to their website and join the global challenge! https://nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk

Nutrition and Hydration Week Logo
Nutrition and Hydration Week Logo

Read our trustpilot reviews
Read More

Customer Testimonials

“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Hcsuk over many years, having used them to source, install and service our medical training equipment. We have always found the team very professional, helpful, and well-organised. We’d like to give a particular shout out to Phil, the technician / engineer who has been the consistent friendly face visiting our business to inspect and test our mobility hoists every 6 months. Thank you for all your support and advice.”

P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Savills Estate Agents

We would just like to pass on our thanks for all of your help with our orders and would be pleased if you would also pass on our thanks to the manufacturers for being so accommodating in meeting our requirements. We have found everyone very helpful.

Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

It is brilliant that we are able to ring Health Care Services and that you will go the extra mile to get us the stock we need as soon as possible.

Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistantly good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.


Your Cart