Foodservice Cateys 2019: Healthcare Caterer of the Year – Sunrise Senior Living

14 October 2019 by
Foodservice Cateys 2019: Healthcare Caterer of the Year – Sunrise Senior Living

Sponsored by Franke Coffee Systems

The judges of the Healthcare Caterer of the Year 2019 were particularly impressed by Sunrise Senior Living's trialling of a new drink to the UK, which had claimed to prevent urinary tract infections. More than 150 million cases of UTIs are diagnosed worldwide each year, and represent the second most common infection to be treated with antibiotics. With antibiotic resistance a major concern for healthcare professionals, any prevention of such infections – and a consequential reduction in the use of antibiotics – is highly sought after.

Sophie Murray, head of nutrition and hydration for Sunrise Senior Living, shipped a cranberry drink from the US – where Sunrise is the fifth-biggest senior living provider – to the UK via Belgium and promoted the beverage to Sunrise residents who had been identified as at risk of UTIs across three sites, creating mocktails, jellies and displays to promote take-up.

The results were favourable, with all sites reporting significant improvements. One case study experienced a reduction from three UTIs a month to none throughout the whole of the 10-month trial.

Sunrise Senior Living oversees 46 nursing and residential care communities around the UK, 21 of which are Sunrise mansions and 25 boutique-style Gracewell Healthcare properties. In total, there are 3,100 residents and more than 7,500 staff.

Throughout her career, Murray has led innovative developments that incorporate the latest scientific research to support those in the assisted living company's care. The cranberry drink is one of many schemes introduced by Murray to improve the health of residents. Protein drinks for better nutrition, "speaking" hydration cups (which remind residents to drink in a familiar voice) and a focus on dining with residents have also helped to reduce the incidence of malnutrition in some sites by as much as 27%.

As well as all this, Murray is deputy chair of the National Association of Care Catering – a voluntary role that sees her support sector-wide initiatives and events. It allows her to share her knowhow across the industry, and she runs training sessions and speaks at events to share best practice.

What the judges said

"Very impressed with everything Sophie does in the industry, such as her voluntary work, and the company's ‘do good' approach to business."

Daniel Dickson, chief executive, Atalian Servest

"It was impressive to read what Sophie does for the industry in regards to nutrition, but also beyond her profession. Introducing a ‘speaking cup' sounds a bit creepy but seems to work to remind people to drink and also helps against loneliness by having a familiar voice."

Hanke Fischer, general catering manager, CH&Co

"A submission with clear and tangible evidence of Sophie's contribution to both Sunrise and the wider care industry. The judges were impressed by numerous initiatives and new product development within Sunrise, which it was felt could be linked to clear clinical benefits for residents."

Allister Richards, managing director, Gather & Gather

The shortlist

Signature Dining

Sunrise Senior Living

T(n)S Catering Services at Blind Veterans

Past winners


St Monica Trust


Gracewell Healthcare


St Andrew's Healthcare


Sunrise Senior Living


ISS Healthcare


Elior UK

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