Liz Evans, Chair of the NNNG states:
This programme highlights what the NNNG feels is a fundamental part of providing good nutritional care. The provision of appealing, nourishing food is paramount to a patient’s recovery. But good nutritional care extends beyond the delivery of food:
“Good Nutrition Needs Nurses”
As part of the assessment process on admission to hospital the patient should be nutritionally screened, special nutritional requirements identified and nutrition action plans communicated and implemented so that the patient’s nutritional needs can be addressed. Healthcare staff delivering nutritional care should be aware of the alternatives available when the hospital menu does not fulfil a patient’s requirements. Trusts should recognise that providing patients with assistance to eat requires time and skill and wards should be allowed the resources to do this.
Although the role of the nutrition nurse specialist throughout the UK differs, in many trusts responsibility for ensuring that patients receive safe oral nutritional care is central to their role. Many of our members are actively involved in promoting, educating and auditing initiatives to promote patients’ nutritional needs including nutrition screening, “Red Trays” and “Protected Mealtimes”, as well as ensuring that patients who require artificial enteral or parenteral nutrition support receive it in a safe and timely fashion.
With malnutrition costing the UK an estimated £13 billion a year (BAPEN 2009)* the NNNG welcomes Mark Sparrow’s campaign to highlight the issues with hospital food that patients are experiencing in some NHS hospitals throughout the UK.
The NNNG will continue to work with other disciplines and organisations to raise awareness of the nutritional issues patients experience in hospital in the hope that this will promote both government and healthcare organisations to keep patients nutrition and hydration needs at the forefront of quality initiatives.
* (BAPEN 2009) Combating Malnutrition: Recommendations for Action Output of a
meeting of the Advisory Group on Malnutrition (June 2008) The British Association
for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Redditch