Noble’s Hospital is taking part in Nutrition and Hydration Week this week, with the Dietetics Service leading the campaign to raise awareness of the risks of malnutrition and dehydration, and promote good practices that can help reduce these risks across hospital and community settings.
Nutrition and Hydration Week is a global campaign in partnership with national associations including Patient Safety First, the National Association of Care Catering and the Hospital Catering Association. Malnutrition is a common problem with an estimated 5% of the population in the UK being malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.
Research shows that people who eat well recover from illnesses more quickly and well-nourished people generally have a better quality of life. Malnutrition, meaning poor nutrition, occurs when a person’s diet lacks essential nutrients. This can affect anyone; however it is particularly common amongst older people and those who are socially isolated as a result of poor mobility, poor physical health or mental health problems. It can occur over a long period of time which sometimes means it can be difficult to identify.
Dietetic Service Manager at Noble’s Hospital, Ruth Ward said: “We tend to think of malnutrition as solely affecting starving children in the developing world but it is common here as well, particularly in the elderly. Poor nutrition is recognised as being both a cause and a consequence of disease affecting the person’s wellbeing and ability to recover from illness quickly.
“Over the course of the week there will be several initiatives at the hospital, care homes and GP surgeries to raise awareness of the campaign including display boards with helpful hints and tips to eating well. We will be leading ‘snack rounds’ on the wards at Noble’s Hospital to highlight to staff, patients and carers the healthy snacks that are available on a daily basis, and to raise awareness of the important contribution that snacks and nourishing drinks can make to patients who have increased nutritional requirements due to their illness or who are not eating well.”
On Wednesday, all patients will receive Afternoon Tea as part of the national campaign, with nursing homes and community centres being encouraged to also provide this. People who receive the Meals on Wheels Service will be given items in their delivery to create their own Afternoon Tea.
The public are invited to take some time to read the fact sheet by the British Dietetic Association available here to learn about the signs and symptoms of malnutrition and some easy steps to help. If anyone has any concerns about themselves or someone they know then they should contact their GP or practice nurse for help, advice and referral to a Dietician if necessary.