Mealtimes are an incredibly important part of daily routine, and none more so than in care homes and residential services where meal times present an opportunity for socialisation and a coming together of the care home family to take enjoyment from eating together. However, within care homes, dining rooms tend to be large open spaces that seldom resemble much similar to the smaller dining rooms we are used to in our own homes. Keeping familiarity and using elements of traditional dining rooms within care home dining rooms is important to subconsciously signal the function of the room and what activities will take place in it. This is especially important for residents who are living with dementia; for instance if a care home dining room clearly resembled an area that residents can recall from their own homes then they will know that this is the place where they eat their meals. Choosing suitable care home dining furniture is often subjective to personal preference, however there are some key considerations to take into account when selecting the dining tables for care homes to ensure that your care home dining room is suited to your users and the function that you want the room to perform. Read on to find out more!
Consider the shape of your nursing home tables:
Dining tables can come in all shape and sizes, but there are some elements to consider when you are looking at what shape to purchase:
- Circular tables are great for getting use out of any awkward corners and if you have a smaller dining room a circular table is the most flexible option you can choose. Circular table also encourage a mixture of social interaction around a table as it would be easier for residents to communicate with those that aren’t seated directly either side of them.
- Rectangular tables are suitable for a multi-functional space. For instance, if you would also like to use the tables for activities or perhaps a buffet, these can easily be suitable.
- If you like the flexibility of rectangular but the softer shape of a circular table then consider a D-end or oval table that combines the two for a ‘best of both’.
- Square tables are adaptable and versatile for any space. Suitable for both more intimate dining arrangements, square tables can also be pushed together to create a larger rectangular dining table if the need arises. Both square and rectangular tables can also be easily pushed up against the walls if you need a big open space for other events or activities.
Pedestal vs 4-legged:
The mobility of residents and whether they have any walking aids or wheelchairs will also need to be considered when selecting your table style. It’s also key to think about what type of dining environment your tables will be going into.
- Pedestal tables are the most suited to those who use a wheelchair. As they don’t have a rail that underneath the tabletop that will obstruct a wheelchair from manoeuvring fully under the table.
- A pedestal table is also a great choice for a more casual dining area, such as a café or bistro. Often seen in more casual style restaurants, a pedestal table such as the Luca would be ideal if you’d like to create a contemporary, casual environment.
- Traditional 4-legged dining tables like our Earlwood range would normally be a more familiar sight for residents, and they tend to provide more support. If your residents tend to use the tables to rise and lower from chairs, then a 4-legged table would provide more stability. If you would prefer a 4-legged tables but also have wheelchair users to consider then opt for either a circular or D-end table as the overhang would be sufficient eating space.
Layout & providing choice:
The layout of a dining space is just as important as the care home dining room furniture you’re going to put in it. At the same time as choosing your tables, you also need to consider how many residents and carers you need to be able to seat at any one time, and how this will work within the space you have.
- It is recommended that you leave at least 90cm between the chair and the wall or other tables to allow residents and carers enough space to manoeuvre comfortably. If you have wheelchairs to consider then it would be advisable to leave more room than this.
- When laying out your settings and working out how many people you can seat per table, it is best to leave at least 30cm between each table setting. If you have square and rectangular tables then it is often fairly clear how many you can seat per table, but circular and D-end tables offer more flexibility.
- Lastly when thinking about layout it is important to provide residents with choice. Some residents may prefer to eat alone, some with another single companion and others in a larger group. Providing different options will ensure you cater for all preferences. It can also be helpful to think about whether any tables will be in areas that are high traffic or high volume, for instance any that are near to kitchens or doorways may be distracting and discomforting for residents when they are enjoying their meal.
Suitability of the finish and material:
Lastly, when you’ve selected your ideal care home dining tables, it is important to check that the finish and composition of the tabletop will be suitable for the demands of a care environment. Look for a table that has a moisture, chemical and heat resistant finish as these will be more resilient to any spillages and accidents, and the chemical resistance will mean that your tables are easily cleaned and disinfected.
We hope that this guide has helped you in making the decision on your ideal new dining tables and some helpful tips on how to provide a great dining experience for your residents. If you’d like any further assistance please contact our friendly expert team on 01603 664 900 or email@example.com.