Case Study: Essie Summers Using Food as Medicine

Food as medicine

When the team at Essie Summers Retirement Village started using The Pure Food Co texture-modified foods, they targeted those residents who were underweight and suffering from pressure sores.

The improvement was so dramatic (within 30 days, their weight had increased and their sores were healing) that most residents at Essie Summers now consume Pure Food products – which are fortified with extra protein, fibre and energy – and they all get to share in the benefits.

“One thing I didn’t actually realise is that protein requirements increase exponentially for the elderly,” says Rosemary Deane, village manager at Essie Summers. “A younger person’s protein requirements are about a third of an elderly person’s. Trying to get all that protein in can be really difficult with a normal diet.”

Consuming the right amount of protein leads to increased energy, improved mobility, improved skin integrity so that skin is less prone to tears, and faster wound healing. Quality of life improves as a result.

Rosemary says, “When our residents are admitted, we do an assessment. If they are at high risk of pressure injuries because they might have lost weight and not have the body fat to cover bony extremities, or they might be at end of life, or using equipment or wearing braces that might rub on their skin, we put them on Pure Food and it makes such a difference.”

“We had one resident who came from the community and she had seven skin wounds, bed sores that had become chronic,” says Melanie Asuncion, clinical manager at the village. “We improved her diet and it took about three months to heal wounds that she had had for years. She didn’t need to have painful dressing changes anymore.”

Because The Pure Food Co products are a good base for fortified smoothies which contain extra protein, energy and fibre, as well as fluids, they are good at combating urinary tract infections, common in the elderly. At Essie Summers, staff have also noticed significant improvements in COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients.

But it’s not just the clinical results that impress – it’s the flavour, too. Rosemary has sampled a number of The Pure Food Co’s smoothies and desserts. “They are damn delicious!” she says.

“We can’t really stop using Pure Food when you see the results with the residents and the improvement in their quality of life. Why would you?”