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Nutrition Action Group for Noble's 23 August 2004

Noble's Hospital has established a Nutrition Action Group, which will be driving improvements in both the provision of food and the environment in which it is served. The Group includes representatives from Nursing, Catering, Hospital Management, Speech and Language Therapy, and Occupational Therapy, and is chaired by Sue Christie, Dietetic Services Manager at Noble's Hospital. Steve Rodan, MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said:

I am delighted to announce the establishment of a Nutrition Action Group at Noble's Hospital. It is important for professionals to work together to ensure that the health benefits of a good diet and the importance of the social aspects of mealtimes is firmly established at Noble's Hospital. Nutrition is of paramount importance for the health and well being of all patients. There has been much written on the importance of good nutrition: well nourished patients spend less time in hospital, have better wound healing and have a stronger immune system."

Sue Christie added:

"Good nutrition can make a difference to the speed in which a patient recovers and how long they spend in hospital. Food is part of the patient's treatment and is every bit as important as their drug treatment. I am very excited about this major initiative which will help us improve the ways in which we provide nutrition for patients in Noble's Hospital."

The Group also plans to make further improvements to include (as from 31 August 2004) a 'Protected Meals Policy' which will ensure that patients will be able to eat their meals without being interrupted for routine tests, investigations, doctors' rounds, etc. Ward routines will be reviewed in order to support the Protected Meals Policy and wherever possible, patients will be encouraged to eat their meals in the designated dining areas on wards. A variety of adapted cutlery will be available on all ward areas and increased levels of staff training around this fundamental aspect of care will be undertaken. Menus will be reviewed twice a year in order to offer seasonal menus to patients.

During the life of the project, the Nutrition Action Group will include investigation of nutritional screening and assessment for patients, providing a conducive environment during mealtimes and assistance to eat and drink for patients and food availability for patients who have missed main mealtimes on the wards. Nicely presented food, served at the correct temperature in a pleasant environment, encourages people to eat appropriately in order to meet their individual nutritional requirements.

In addition to championing improvement throughout the hospital, the Group will also look at the many areas of good practice presently in operation within the Hospital, which include:

  • Hot beverages offered to patients (except for those on fluid restriction for medical reasons) at least 7 times each day
  • Sandwiches and snacks available on request if patients have missed a main meal and in addition to the hot selection of the day
  • Jugs of water available for all patients who are not on restricted fluids for medical reasons
  • A selection of hot meals with seasonal vegetables served to patients each lunch and supper time and a mug of soup available on request
  • Patients dining rooms available on most wards
  • Fruit baskets available on each ward. The patient's own choice of seasonal fruit is available on request

A local conference to raise awareness amongst health care professionals will be held in the Isle of Man in Winter 2004.

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