Nutrition and Hydration Week, which is organised by the NHS National Patient Safety Agency and Patient Safety First, is a week designed to reinforce and focus on nutrition and hydration as an important part of patient safety improvement. The consequences of poor nutrition and hydration are well documented and include increased risk of infection, poor skin integrity and delayed wound healing, decreased muscle strength, depression and even premature death.
Throughout the week staff at the Oakwell Centre at Kendray Hospital were handing out free pots of jelly to all customers at the café and informing people of the benefits of jelly as an alternative to water. Jelly can make a tasty contribution to hydration especially if individuals do not want to drink.
Margaret O’Conner, deputy matron, said, “Poor nutrition and hydration leads to poor health and can result in increased and prolonged hospital admissions. During the week we really wanted to raise awareness of how important good nutrition and hydration is and looked for alternative ways for people to get the nutrients they need. The jelly was very popular and many people said how effective it was as an alternative to water.”
Physiotherapy teams promoted hydration during sessions and discussed healthy diet. At the same time activity coordinators were looking at raising awareness and increased education about nutrition and hydration, including healthy eating, five a day, portion size and other issues for people on the wards.
A special Come Dine With Me event was also held during the week at Mount Vernon Hospital, with catering staff providing samples of food that patients eat while on the wards. Visitors were able to taste the food in a bid to change their perceptions of hospital food.