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Noble’s Hospital supports Patient Safety First’s ‘Nutrition and Hydration Week’ 14 March 2013

Nutrition and Hydration Week poster Between 18 and 24 March 2013, to mark the second annual Nutrition and Hydration Week, Noble’s Hospital will join ‘Patient Safety First’, a UK national agency set up to promote and support interventions to improve patient care. The goal is to focus energy and engagement on nutrition and hydration as a key part of patient safety improvement; as part of the initiative, there will be an array of activities which include promotions aimed at patients, staff, and visitors to Noble’s Hospital during the week.

Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK, said:

“Hydration and nutrition are the basic building blocks of good health and their importance should not be underestimated. It is known that poor nutrition and hydration can cause harm, which often leads to an increase in hospital admissions and a prolonged stay in hospital, as well as an increase in costs to the Department of Health. Along with the work of Noble’s Hospital’s Nutrition Action Group (NAG), the awareness week aims to improve the understanding of nutrition and hydration, as well as promote simple tips for the prevention and treatment of under-nutrition and dehydration at home and in hospitals.
“Poor nutrition is recognised as being both a cause and a consequence of disease. Large-scale UK surveys have shown that 1 in 4 people admitted to hospital are considered to be malnourished already, with 75% of admissions coming to hospital from their own homes. This tells us that poor nutrition predominantly originates in the general population living in their own homes, rather than in very sick individuals in hospital as potentially perceived.”

The campaign includes:

  • A display in the main reception at Noble’s Hospital targeting visitors, relatives and carers which explains how to recognise the signs of poor nutrition and dehydration, and how simple small dietary changes can make a big impact
  • 'Food First’ information leaflets for visitors to take home
  • Senior clinical staff and dieticians staffing the afternoon drinks rounds on wards, in order to chat with patients and relatives about hydration. Patients will be offered a range of drink options and a homemade cake
  • Wall displays in outpatient clinic areas
  • A number of staff will be wearing Nutrition and Hydration Week themed T-shirts for the week.

Nutrition is a care priority for all Noble's Hospital patients. The NAG was set up in 2003 to promote good practice, and since then has made numerous service and policy improvements. Now every person admitted onto a ward can expect to be screened for malnutrition risk throughout their stay, they can expect a choice of nutritious hot and cold menu options, and thanks to the Protected Mealtime Policy, they can expect to have their choice of meal on a quiet ward where they will not be interrupted. The importance of adequate fluids and food in the prevention and treatment of illness cannot be over stated. The Nutrition and Hydration Week campaign is one way that this key message can impact beyond the boundaries of Noble’s Hospital.

Bev Critchlow, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Therapies said:

“Ensuring that all our patients have enough to eat and drink is fundamental to care and wellbeing, and we take it extremely seriously. The work of the NAG and the dieticians has already made an enormous impact to the experience that patients have at Noble’s Hospital. Supporting the Nutrition and Hydration Week campaign is a must on our calendars and promotes a message which affects everyone.”

Throughout 2013, the Nutrition Action Group will be supporting several initiatives and promotions to inform members of the public the importance of hydration and nutrition. Throughout the month of January the MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool) policy was promoted as Noble’s Hospital’s ‘Policy of the Month’, serving as an additional reminder to staff to ensure they appropriately screen every patient for malnutrition and dehydration when admitted. In April the NAG is hosting a nutrition study day at the Department’s Education and Training Centre Keyll Darree, aimed at staff within Department of Health and private healthcare providers, which will explore the basics of nutrition and provide an insight into how to effectively deal with poor nutrition. The day will cover important topics such as feeding people with cognitive decline, recognising and managing swallowing difficulties, and diabetes management in the elderly and infirm. In addition, local initiatives will be showcased at this one-day event, such as the significance of Volunteer Dining Companions in Noble’s Hospital, and the introduction of nutrition screening into Community Nursing.

The NAG has also been instrumental in placing nutrition high on the agenda as a regular feature of the junior doctors’ ongoing education program at Noble's Hospital. All of these factors help to keep food and hydration very much at the forefront in the care and management of vulnerable people, not just in hospital, but also throughout the Isle of Man.

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