Research Institute for Aging
Research Institute for Aging


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Topics: Dementia, Workforce Development

Mealtimes aren’t just about eating, for many of us, they are an opportunity to connect with the people around us. As we age, the connections and experiences that happen around mealtime become increasingly more important.

Research shows that when people have a pleasurable mealtime, they eat more, and their quality of life is enhanced.

CHOICE+ is a ground-breaking, evidence-informed program designed to improve the mealtime experience in retirement and long-term care homes using a relationship-centered approach. The goal of CHOICE+ is to create mealtimes that feel like home, where each person’s preferences are respected, their dignity is honored, and the dining environment and experience are positive.

CHOICE+ is made up of six principles:

  • Connecting – ensuring people have meaningful conversations and opportunities to socialize.
  • Honoring dignity – making sure decisions, choices, and preferences are respected.
  • Offering support – supporting people’s individual needs.
  • Identity – knowing and accepting people as unique individuals.
  • Creating opportunities – supporting active mealtime participation.
  • Enjoyment – creating a warm, welcoming dining environment.

Champions for Change

Champions for Change is an e-Learning course for leaders within retirement and long-term care homes based on change management principles that supports homes in creating an engaging, person-centred mealtime experience.

The Champions for Change e-Learning course will drive change within your organization by helping to:

  • Increase interest among staff to make improvements and incorporate a relationship-centered approach to care.
  • Actively engage key stakeholders to increase buy-in and participation among staff overall.
  • Identify key focus areas for improvement and change within your retirement and long-term care home.
  • Measure successes and celebrate wins to ensure the team remains focused on achieving overall goals.
  • Research demonstrates when the CHOICE+ Principles are utilized in homes it leads to increased physical and environmental improvements as well as increased relationship centred dining for residents. This leads to enhanced quality of life for both residents and team members.

To sign up for the Champions for Change e-Learning course, visit the registration page.

Want to see the CHOICE+ Principles in action?

Take a walk through one of the dining rooms.

As a participant of the course, you will have access to evidence-informed resources that will help you assess current mealtime practices and provide a detailed work plan on how to implement changes. CHOICE+ Champions for Change also offers a way for homes to “enable meaningful mealtime experiences that meet residents’ needs and preferences”, as outlined in the HSO Long Term Care Standards, 2023.

Program Team

  • Michelle Stillman, Senior Director, Programs and Impact
  • Carrie Briscoe, Education Specialist

The CHOICE+ principle resources were supported with funding from the Government of Ontario to the Ontario Centre for Learning, Research, and Innovation in Long-Term Care, hosted at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA). The views expressed herin do not necessarily reflect the views of the province.

The CHOICE+ e-course and Community of Practice were developed by the RIA, Heather Keller, RD, PhD, FDC, FCAHS, and Sarah Wu, PhD with support from the CHOICE+ Advisory Committee.

The are no "Related Projects" associated with this Program.

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