Nutrition Group

Nutrition Group

Posted on 15 July 2016 by Monika Reichelt

At the hospice, nutrition and hydration play an extremely important role in how we deliver truly person-centred care to our patients. We ask all of our patients what they feel like to eat, before every mealtime, and will try our very best to meet their requests.

It is extremely important to us that all of our patients find their meals appetising, appropriately portioned and that the food we serve is nutritional and easy to eat. In particular, our multidisciplinary Nutrition and Hydration Steering Group have been working tirelessly to develop appetising meals for patients with swallowing difficulties. The trick is not only in the texture and flavour but also most importantly it seems, in the appearance of the food! The main challenges have involved creating easy-to-swallow meals without compromising the flavour, shape or consistency of the food. This means that anyone in the hospice can enjoy a nice plate of fish and chips, ham salad or cheese toast regardless of their illness. It is a major step forward aimed at encouraging even the most critically ill patients to eat more and to look forward to their meal times.

Fiona Cruikshank, the chair of the Nutrition and Hydration Steering Group, says:

“Historically, purified food would usually look like a porridge which might not be very appealing to some patients. Now, with a little bit of extra effort,  it can resemble the actual meal, which in turn is likely to increase the patients’ appetite. The group involved in these developments consists of members of staff from the catering team, in-patient unit, specialist community nurses and is chaired by an education facilitator. We look at all aspects of nutrition and hydration from tool development in nutrition screening assessment, to how food is presented through being liquidised as well as complex matters such as nutrition supplements and providing protected mealtimes”.

We are delighted to report that the catering team have already received very positive feedback from patients about the work of the group and will continue to look for new ways to enhance the quality of life of our patients.