12 March 2013 – Hospital supports nutrition and hydration week
Airedale Hospital will be raising awareness of the importance of nutrition and hydration for patients in hospital, in the community and vulnerable people in their own homes during a week long campaign this month.
Staff at the hospital are supporting the second national nutrition and hydration week, organised by Patient Safety First between 18 and 22 March, with a series of informative and interactive events for staff and carers.
Different themes have been chosen for each day starting on Monday 18 March with ‘food first’. This aims to explain to staff and relatives how they can boost peoples’ calorie intake by highlighting a range of different snacks and drinks with high calorie content.
Nick Bergin, specialist nutrition support dietician at Airedale NHS Foundation, says: “At any point in time, more than three million people in the UK are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. There are many reasons why people become malnourished, anything from swallowing problems, nausea or vomiting, pain or infections or simply a loss of appetite can affect someone’s ability to take in the right amount of foods and fluids.
“It’s our job, when people are admitted to hospital, to assess their nutritional needs and liaise with the catering team to boost their calorie intake and help them to get better as qucikly as possible.
“When patients go home, relatives and carers can help by encouraging them to eat smaller portions more regularly as well as eating snacks with higher calories.”
The dietetics team will be running an information stand in the hospital’s restaurant during the week and will be available to talk to staff and carers about a range of different topics including swallowing and different textures of food; nutritional supplements and special drinks; and tube feeding. They will also be working with the hospital’s catering supplier, Sodexo, and food supplier, Tillery Valley Foods, to offer food tasting sessions on Monday 18 March and Tuesday 19 March.
Rob Dearden, director or nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says: “Ensuring good nutrition and hydration is a fundamental part of caring for our patients properly. Poor nutrition and hydration leads to poor health and increased and prolonged hospital admissions as patients are more likely to be at risk of infection, have delayed wound healing and decreased muscle strength.
“We want to raise awareness of how important good nutrition and hydration is to people’s health and wellbeing as well as support staff, carers and relatives with practical tips to help them care for people who are malnourished or at risk of being malnourised.”