It’s been said, “The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach,” and Covenant Care has implemented a service to do just that.
Covenant Care rolled out its “Enhanced Dining” service with two primary focuses: an expanded menu of nutritious foods that are vital to recovery and healing, developed with input from residents, patients, and families, and a redesign of its dining rooms into places that are more homelike, attractive, and comfortable.

Thinking National, Buying Local

“Improving the quality of life for our residents is our No. 1 priority, and we are thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response,” says Chief Operating Officer Dava Ashley. “We also enjoy seeing the marvelous skills and creativity displayed by our chefs and dietary staffs.”

Several of Covenant Care’s registered dietitians and dietary managers collaborated and reimagined the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus with the idea of engaging patients and residents in the experience. Locally sourced produce are used when possible, as are specials inspired by the National Food Calendar, such as May is National Strawberry Month, paired with discussions about nutritional education.

chef-photo credit Joshua Torres.jpg

May We Take Your Order?

Monthly food bars are hosted as well as servings of homemade soups and fresh garden salads that are prepared tableside.

One of the key goals is offering a wide range of choices while honoring individual preferences in a homelike environment. Regular interaction with customers helps management find out what residents like, what they don’t, what items they would like to see on the menus, and what healthy alternatives are available from their favorite foods.

Covenant’s restaurant-style breakfast café allows customers to choose the preparation of their food: eggs scrambled or sunny-side up? Bacon or sausage links? And many items, including several healthy options, are available a la carte.

The Covenant Care motto is, “We are family serving families,” and that’s how the Enhanced Dining service is modeled.

Be Our Guest

Not only have the menus been made over, so have the dining rooms and staff. These eating areas now resemble homey restaurants; fine table linens, china, glassware, and centerpieces elevate the dining experience. And staff apparel resembles what one would see in bistros and cafes.

As evidence of the success of the Enhanced Dining service, Covenant Care facilities have received thank you cards, such as this from patient Jill Sherman-Warne: “Thank you for all of the meals! Breakfast was always a great way to start my day, and having access to a fresh cup of coffee at any time and the hot-from-the-oven cookies are essential to my healing! My visitors always enjoyed the coffee, punch, and cookies too. Thank you for the great soups, omelet Fridays, and the quesadillas, bagels and French toast. All of your hard work is appreciated!”

Ashley says 16 Covenant Care facilities have rolled out the Enhanced Dining service. Due to its success and positive guest response, she expects that number to grow to nearly 30 in 2015.

Karen Reed is a registered dietitian and can be reached at (949) 349-1200.
Founded in 1994, Covenant Care,, offers post-acute care services such as short- and long-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation, residential care/assisted living, home health, and AFFIRMA Rehabilitation. Through modest and focused growth, the company has grown to include more than 8,000 health care professionals in some 57 locations. Covenant Care serves 4,000 residents and patients in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, and Ohio centers.