Heathfield’s Head Chef shows commitment to patients

Heathfield, located in East Sussex, provides specialist post-acute neurorehabilitation for adults with an acquired brain injury (ABI), or care and support for people with complex needs associated with neurodegenerative disorders (including Huntington’s disease).

Martin Wood, is the Head Chef at Heathfield, which is part of Priory’s Brain Injury Services network.

Martin and his team work hard to create interesting and new flavours for residents, many of whom have special dietary needs or dysphagia. The team use only fresh ingredients and everything is made from scratch.

Martin has said of his team, “Our team of chefs strive to make a difference to our residents’ dining experience and at all times, our aim is to give residents healthy choices and the nutrition that they require.”

Heathfield has obtained a 5-star environmental health rating every year for the past seven years, which is something that Martin and the team are very proud of.

Heathfield Hospital Director, Jacqueline Revell-Hughes explained that, “the importance of diet for our residents cannot be underestimated.” 

“Food and the mealtime routine is often an opportunity for people to make choices and take part in the social aspect of meals.

“Our residents’ dietary needs are diverse and often complex due to the effects of their brain injury, neurological condition or other physical health issues.

“A healthy and varied diet, often specially prepared for each individual, with close liaison with our dietitian and the nursing team at Heathfield, is an important factor in the rehabilitation and care that we offer.”

Research into The Influence of Diet and Physical Activity on Brain Repair and Neurosurgical Outcome (Gomez-Pinilla, 2008)*, noted that “a number of studies point to the healthy effects of dietary factors on the brain”.

The article explained, “Lifestyle conditions such as diet and exercise can contribute to the ability of the brain to counteract neurological disorders. Specific diets and exercise routines have been shown to impact select factors which can make the brain more resistant to damage, facilitate synaptic transmission, and improve cognitive abilities. Accordingly, managed dietary manipulations and exercise have strong therapeutic potential.”

Heathfield offers residents:

  • Individualised meal plans that are freshly prepared with quality ingredients
  • Tailored programmes focused on helping people to regain the skills that are needed to live more independently
  • An environment that allows residents to create their own personalised spaces and which has a self-contained flat to help with the transition to community living
  • Facilities including a hydrotherapy bathroom, garden areas, an occupational therapy kitchen and a physiotherapy gym

For more information on Heathfield and the services that are offered to residents, or to make a referral, please contact 0800 090 1356 or email prioryenquiries@nhs.net

*Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando, and Kristina Kostenkova. “The Influence of Diet and Physical Activity on Brain Repair and Neurosurgical Outcome.” Surgical neurology 70.4 (2008): 333–336.