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Hospitals serve up nutrition and hydration day

Jayne Whitney

Highlighting the importance of good nutrition and hydration has been on the menu at Swansea Bay’s three main hospitals this week.

Neath Port Talbot, Morriston and Singleton hospitals held a Nutrition and Hydration Day on Wednesday in order to underline just how vital it is to eat well and stay hydrated.

Patients, staff and members of the public who visited were treated to informative displays and offered the chance to talk to representatives from the health board’s catering department about menus and the choices on offer.

The move coincides with the health board making improving nutrition and hydration one of its quality improvement priorities this year.

NPT catering

Jayne Whitney, Swansea Bay’s Quality Improvement Lead for Nutrition and Hydration, said: “Each year the health board looks at areas we can improve on, and nutrition and hydration is one of the leading ones chosen for 2024.

“It’s amazing that the health board is focusing on nutrition and hydration, because, ultimately, if we don’t get it right we are going to get people staying longer in hospital, which will have a massive effect on the individual and their recovery, as well as on our bed availability and management of the hospitals. 

“It’s really important that we get it right and the health board recognises that it’s something  we can do better.”

As part of the pledge to improve, patients’ weight will be closely monitored to make sure they are eating well during their stay in hospital.

Jayne said: “A key area is looking at weight. It’s really important to our campaign. The message is; don’t wait to weigh. We need to make sure that all patients are weighed on admission and are consistently weighed each week to make sure that they are within the correct nutritional scoring. If they are not, it has a massive impact on medication and their recovery of the individual.

“We are also looking at hydration and how we ensure patients are well hydrated on our wards and within our communities.” 

Singleton Catering

The day was just one of the first steps to improving the service.

Jayne said: “Hospital food doesn’t always have the greatest appeal so we wanted to promote nutrition and hydration in a different way, as we have done today.

“The catering departments, in Neath Port Talbot, Morriston and Singleton hospitals, all promoted what they do to ensure their patients have the nutrition and hydration that they need. 

“It was a huge effort and I would like to thank all our catering departments for an excellent day, with a special thank you to the welsh translation team and Paul Evans, project support for their contribution to the event.

“Staff set out stalls to make it clear what it all means to patients – how many glasses of fluid they need a day, how it hampers their recovery if they are not hydrated, and what happens if they don’t get the right nutrition – certainly in the areas of frailty and amongst the older generation. 

“We need to be working towards raising those standards, but this was an amazing start. 

“It also offered  an opportunity to learn more about what patients’ menu choices are - what is available.. 

Jayne said: “A big push was to highlight the wonderful work that our catering department does to cater for bespoke people – offering halal vegan choices, glutton free food – to ensure our patients get full three meals, snacks and drinks every day, within a restrictive budget.”

Catherine Jones, Neath Port Talbot Hospital’s support services manager, said: “The day was aimed at raising awareness of the importance of hydration and nutrition, especially amongst the patients that we feed in Swansea Bay University Health Board. 

“We had a team effort to put together the information from housekeeping, as they manage the broader food service, as well as input from other departments across the sites.

“Our portering manager and one of our patient supervisors dressed up as a watermelon and as a strawberry, and were a massive hit with the children – there were a lot of children coming through as it is half term from school.

“We were also kindly given a basket of fruit by one of our suppliers, which we used as a prize for a quiz on hydration and nutrition.”

Morriston Catering

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