Hospital team advises care homes about nutrition and hydration
The nutrition and dietetics team from Airedale Hospital is helping care homes to understand the nutritional needs of their patients.
Liz Dawson from the hospital’s nutrition and dietetics department is providing training in over 30 care homes in the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven areas to as many staff as possible in each home; from nursing teams to dining room staff and chefs.
Her training aims to increase the staff’s knowledge about nutrition and hydration, to give them the confidence to make improvements and to help them identify and treat potential malnutrition. The theory of nutrition is taught as well as providing practical examples, case studies and ideas to enrich diets.
Liz says, “Nutrition and hydration is really important in the overall health and wellbeing of a person, especially as you get older. People can lose their appetites as they grow older, and malnutrition and dehydration can lead to falls, infections and pressure ulcers which cause unplanned or extended hospital admissions. Ensuring that malnutrition and dehydration are avoided can help in making sure there are no extra health complications.
“The practical part of the course is particularly popular – I ask trainees to allocate the right foods to a hypothetical patient and it really seems to help people cement their knowledge into real life examples.”
The team have had some positive feedback from care home staff who have taken part. One of the dining room assistants at Abbeydale care home in Ilkley said “it was a well presented and informative course with interesting content and plenty of practical aspects to help my understanding. I would definitely recommend it.”
The course has been made possible via funding from Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (AWC CCG). It was awarded in March this year and has allowed the team to produce a colour booklet and resources including certificates for care homes that take part.
The next step will be a digital one – Liz says: “I’m going to deliver some of the future sessions virtually through telemedicine – a video link directly into the care home from the hospital. A few care homes have already signed up.”