Whether they be tiny premature babies, new mums or gynaecology patients, making sure that patients receive good nutrition and hydration is very important to us. So we welcome the fact that today sees the start of Nutritional Awareness Week.
Poor nutrition and hydration can increase the risk of infection and delay healing, leading to longer hospital stays. We also think that presenting our patients with attractive, tasty and nutritious meals is part of looking after them properly and with dignity.
We are using the week to relaunch protected mealtimes, ensuring patients can eat their meals with as little disturbance as possible from visitors and staff. We are also relaunching the use of red trays for serving meals to patients who need assistance with feeding so they can be easily identified.
Members of the Trust Board and senior managers will be assisting in the serving of meals during this coming week to stress how strongly we feel about this aspect of patient care and safety.
We will also have a stand in the main foyer at our Crown Street site explaining the role of our ward hostesses and displaying some of our patient feedback which is very important to us. There will be menu information and to stress the importance of nutrition to health and well being, healthy foods will be on offer on the stand.
Our staff play a key role in recognising that nutrition and hydration is critical to patient experience, patient safety and our Trust values and I would to thank them sincerely for supporting our efforts this week and throughout the year.
It is never too early to make good nutrition a patient priority. On our neonatal unit, Consultant Colin Morgan, is carrying out important research into the way in which increasing the quantity and quality of nutrition to premature babies may lead to improved brain development in the baby’s early years and beyond. His findings could have implications for premature babies all over the country and elsewhere.