Specialist Group launch event

BDA Care Home Digest Launch

Hosted by Older People and Food Services Specialist Groups

Bookings close at 10am on Tuesday 25 June 

The BDA Food Services Specialist Group and BDA Older People Specialist Group are proud to have worked with the National Association of Care Catering to develop the first menu planning and food service guidelines for care homes for older adults, to support care homes to provide high quality food and drink services for residents in their care.

The guidelines provide information and tools that care home managers, nursing staff, carers and chefs can use to understand how to ensure that menus meet residents’ nutritional needs, together with guidance about how food service delivery can both enhance mealtime experience for residents and support them to meet their nutritional needs.

The Care Home Digest launch and study day will:

  • Focus on the use of food and enhancing the skills and knowledge of caterers to meet residents nutritional needs
  • Demonstrate how care homes can review their services to understand what they are already doing well and where improvements can be considered and made
  • Showcase care home catering teams where food-based, nutrient dense nutritional support is already being successfully implemented
  • Provide practical examples of incorporating nutrient density into modified texture meals and snacks

Welcome address - Liz Stockley, CEO, BDA

Introducing the Care Home Digest

Helen will introduce the Care Home Digest Guidelines and outline the background to their development

  • Helen ReamWorking Group Chair, Healthcare and Food Service Dietitian at Compass Group UK & Ireland and Vice-Chair of the BDA Food Services Specialist Group

Helen Ream has been a Dietitian for 30 years, working in the NHS for over 20 years and with Compass Group UK & Ireland since 2015. Whilst working for Compass she has worked closely with care home and hospital teams to support and enhance the nutritional care provided through food services. Helen is also Vice Chair of the Food Services Specialist Group (FSSG) and has had the privilege of Chairing the working group who have developed the Care Home Digest guidelines.  

IDDSI in care homes

This session will cover

  1. An overview of the IDDSI framework
  2. Real-world solutions for implementing standardised diets to ensure safer swallowing practices in the care home setting.
  3. Improving the quality of life for those with dysphagia

Speaker - Andy Cullum, National Craft Trainer at Avery Healthcare, specialising in International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI)

Andy Cullum is the National Craft Trainer at Avery Healthcare, specialising in International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). Andy has been a chef for over 30 years and brings a wealth of culinary experience to the healthcare sector. He focuses on aiding residents with dysphagia to dine with dignity by expertly modifying the texture of the meals served in care homes and presenting them in a luxurious manner. His expertise extends beyond the kitchen. He imparts simple yet effective methods on how to present meals and drinks in a person-centred way. His contributions have been recognised with the prestigious Training and Apprenticeship Award in the 2024 Public Sector Catering Awards, a testament to his impact on catering and care team members across Avery Healthcare.  Andy is also a valued member of the National Association of Care Catering and the UK IDDSI Reference Group, promoting awareness and the ongoing use of the IDDSI Framework.

A nutrient dense approach – why it’s important and how to implement it

This session will cover

  1. Why nutrient dense is important
  2. Practical examples of how to implement the nutrient dense approach


  • Sam Heal, Head Chef at Porthaven Care Homes Group
  • Alison Smith, Working Group Vice Chair, Prescribing Support Consultant Dietitian, NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board and Committee member of BDA Older People Specialist Group and BDA Optimising Nutrition Prescribing Specialist Group

Alison has been qualified for more than 25 years, and since 2013 has worked as a Prescribing Support Dietitian. This role focusses on appropriate prescribing of nutrition products, with a particular remit for prevention, identification and appropriate treatment of malnutrition using a food-based approach.  Alison is a judge for the National Association for the National Association of Care Catering and Care Chef of the year awards and is also chair of both the Department of Health and Social Care Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) and the PrescQIPP Nutrition Virtual Professional Group. Alison’s professional interests include malnutrition, hydration, nutrition screening, care homes, frailty, sarcopenia, dysphagia, dementia, pressure injury and end of life.

What does a compliant Care Home menu look like? 

This session will cover

  1. Care Home Digest menu assessment checklist
  2. The compliance regulations across the 4 nations
  3. Q&A with representatives from CQC and NHS England


  • Helen Ream, Working Group Chair, Healthcare and Food Service Dietitian at Compass Group UK & Ireland and Vice-Chair of the BDA Food Services Specialist Group
  • Emma Self, Programme Lead, Service Policy & Design, Primary Care and Community Services, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Directorate
  • Charlotte Rudge, MSc BSc RD - Care Quality Commission Interim Deputy Director of Operations in the Midlands

Charlotte has been a registered dietitian since 2007, her last clinical post was as a band 8a dietetic clinical lead at a large teaching trust. Her current role is as a deputy director of operations in the Care Quality Commission. She leads a network to deliver effective regulation, credible inspections, and tangible quality improvements across a diverse range of healthcare providers. She is motivated by our purpose to make sure services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care, and encourage care services to improve.   

She maintain links with the British Dietetic Association to provide education to the CQC operational teams. She represents CQC on the national Allied Health Professionals in Actions Board, and national Nutrition and Hydration Board, aiming to inform and inspire the system about how allied health professionals can be best utilised to support future health, care and wellbeing service delivery.

Chapter 1: Nutrition and hydration needs, screening for malnutrition and care planning

  • Lisa ComberCare Home Lead Dietitian, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sophie MurrayGovernance and Regulation Manager, Harbour Healthcare and South East Deputy Chair for National Association for Care Catering (NACC)

Sophie Murray is a Registered Nurse and also holds a degree in Nutritional Medicine. She has worked for over 12 years leading in Catering and Nutrition within Care Homes, holding Management positions including Head of Nutrition and Hydration in this time. She has also co-owned a busy restaurant which offered Italian cuisine. She is a multi-award winner in healthcare and nutrition and is an active regional executive team member with the NACC (National Association if Care Catering) where she is involved with supporting members and working on national projects to drive up standards in this area.  Sophie Murray is also a published author, having contributed to or written articles for numerous sector related publications.

Lisa Comber  is a Registered Dietitian working in Care Homes across Wandsworth, in South West London. Her motto is ‘Keeping it Real’.  This means not only managing malnutrition with fortified meals, homemade fortified drinks and snacks that taste delicious, but also facilitating the care home residents to make their own choices and engage in food and drink preparation themselves. Lisa enjoys working in a multidisciplinary team and this year won the Allied Health Professional of the Year award at St George’s University Hospitals NHS FT for her work in managing malnutrition in care homes.  Lisa views everyone in the care home as part of an extended team and works tirelessly to engage staff to optimise nutrition and hydration for residents.  She even developed a song to get the main messages of the therapy programme across, which is called ‘Nourish, Move, Connect and Thrive,’ much to the amusement of care home staff, residents and team colleagues!

Chapter 2: Delivering a positive mealtime experience to enable residents to eat and drink well

  • Allan BrazierNational Treasurer, NACC

Chapter 3: Menu planning and design

  • Elizabeth Armstrong, Registered Dietitian, Northern Ireland
  • Monica Compton, Dietetic Prescribing Advisor, Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (NHfT)

Monica has been working in the NHS for over 25 years.  Her role is to provide guidance to all professionals within Northamptonshire on ensuring ACBS criteria is met for use of Nutritional Borderline Substances. She also leads the service to provide nutritional guidance for people residing in Adult care homes.

Elizabeth has worked as a dietitian for over 20 years working in both the United Kingdom and Ireland . Her present role is in the prescribing support team in Northern Ireland. She was recently awarded the AHP’S advancing health care ward for her work in treating malnutrition in care homes. In 2012 she completed a post graduate certificate in nutrition and the older adult and in response to this she was asked to support the implementation of the nutritional care standards in care homes for the Republic of Ireland. She is an associate fellow of the United Kingdom’s higher education academy.

Chapter 4: Special Diets - Vittoria Romano 

  • Vittoria Romano, Specialist Dietitian and Appropriate Prescribing Lead, Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Chair of the BDA Older People Specialist Group  

Vittoria works as a community dietitian and is passionate about collaborating strategically with the multi-disciplinary team, including care homes. She would like to see more dietitians utilising their leadership skills so that others feel better able & confident to provide quality nutrition and hydration care and as a result more of the population benefits.

  • Older People Specialist Group Members £55
  • Food Services Specialist Group Members £55
  • BDA Members £75 - Register before 17 May for £55
  • NACC Members £75 - Register before 17 May for £55
  • Non members £100

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