National Nutrition and Hydration Week, taking place from 17-23 March, is about raising awareness of the importance of good nutrition and hydration across the healthcare environment. Across the NHS and here at Heart of England, we are keen to support the week which promotes the following:
- The 10 key characteristics for good nutritional care. The characteristics cover steps that should be taken by hospitals to help improve nutritional care.
- Protected mealtimes in hospitals. All staff are encouraged to implement protected mealtimes to help improve the safety and nutrition of their patients at mealtimes.
- Being a nutrition advocate. Staff are encouraged to have a nutrition advocate for each health and care setting who are responsible for helping patients to have access to healthy food and fluids that meet their nutritional requirements.
- The minimum standards for good nutrition.
- Sharing of good nutrition and hydration practices to highlight the positive work being done to provide good nutritional care.
- Continued education for professionals on good nutrition and hydration.
To show our support for Nutrition and Hydration Week, a number of awareness initiatives are running across the Trust throughout the week. .
A new hospital menu with 40 new dishes for patients to choose has been launched with a series of ‘Come Dine With Me’ style food tasting events. These events give visitors and staff the opportunity to sample dishes from the new patient menu whilst encouraging the ‘eat and drink well’ mantra.
Worldwide Afternoon Tea Day is taking place during the Nutrition and Hydration Week. The event highlights how this simple meal occasion is an ideal way to help improve nutrition and hydration. This is part of a wider initiative to launch a wider range of snacks for patients to have between meals and also serves a social purpose enabling those in a social and healthcare setting to interact with staff, visitors, service users and patients.
Therapy, nursing and catering staff at Heartlands Hospital have also set up a promotional awareness campaign called ‘Eat, Drink, Move’.
Ben Johnson, nutrition support nurse at Heartlands Hospital, explains: “‘Eat Drink Move’ is a fresh approach to promoting good nutrition and hydration for our patients, while also adding a focus on increased mobility which is all fundamental to increasing recovery and promoting harm free care.
“Eating well, staying well hydrated and active while in hospital has a big impact on a patient’s health, outcome and well-being.”
For further information on Nutrition and Hydration Week, visit www.nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk
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