As part of Nutrition and Hydration Week (17 – 23 March), activities are taking place across the country and around the world to raise awareness and improve understanding of the vital importance of good nutrition and hydration across social and healthcare setting.
Service providers and healthcare facilities across the country, and beyond, have arranged a host of activities to highlight the event. In particular, the call to take part in Nutrition & Hydration Week Worldwide Afternoon Tea on Wednesday 19 March.
Industry caterer Compass Group UK & Ireland’s healthcare businesses, WhiteOaks and Medirest, are joining in theNutrition and Hydration Week celebrations. Throughout the week, Medirest teams across more than 15 sites will be holding tea parties to celebrate the week and encourage patients and visitors alike to keep hydrated, whilst other teams will be hosting a range of activities, from fairs to food-tasting events, to promote the initiative.
All 45 care homes WhiteOaks operates in will be taking part in the National Tea Party on Wednesday 19 March to promote hydration amongst the 2,000 care home residents that they cater for. In addition, WhiteOaks managers and chefs have also attended additional nutrition and hydration training sessions led by Nicky Martin, head of nutrition at Compass Group UK & Ireland, highlighting the importance of nutrition and hydration when catering for elderly residents.
The three organisations leading Nutrition & Hydration Week 2014 are Patient Safety First (PSF), Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and National Association of Care Catering (NACC). In the run up to the event, Andy Jones, HCA Chair, said:
“One of the key messages in terms of patient feeding, is the need to recognise the subtle but critical difference between ‘eating for good health’, rather than ‘healthy eating’. With under-nutrition and dehydration leading to increased hospital stays and readmission rates, our focus must be on embedding the concept of nutrition and hydration as a key part of a patient’s recovery plan.”
Maxine Cartz, lead dietitian for healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented:
“This is a really important week in the calendar and something we’re really keen to promote across hospitals and care homes. As well as raising awareness about the importance of eating healthily and keeping hydrated, we’re giving our front-line teams all the training they need to cater for both vulnerable and elderly patients and residents, whilst encouraging people to drink throughout the day – not just at meal times.”
A very small flavour of activities taking place within the care sector includes tea dances hosted by Leicestershire County Council; a wartime-themed afternoon tea party at Nightingale Care Home in Ecclesfield: a tea dance at Rimbley Care Home in Calgary, Canada; and afternoon tea is being served in care homes across the country, and also at the Association of Health, Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, India.
Hospitals have also stepped up to the mark with activities such as food tasting in the entrance to Royal Liverpool University Hospital, plus and a tea and scone day with patients, matrons and ward managers; the launch of a new hydration project at County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust; and afternoon tea being enjoyed on the wards and in designated areas in many hospitals across the country.
Other activities taking place across the UK include competitions, surveys, and a Twitter chat.