HSE Ireland’s new Food, Nutrition and Hydration Policy is launched

DUBLIN, Ireland – HSE’s new Food, Nutrition and Hydration Policy has been launched.

The official launch took place late last week at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

Every day, there are approximately 10,500 patients in acute hospitals. Food provided to these patients, says HSE, is an important factor that influences both their clinical outcome and overall satisfaction with their hospital experience.  The new policy aims to ensure that all adult patients in Acute Hospitals receive a patient-centred food and nutrition service, from their admission to their discharge from hospital.

The policy provides a minimum nutrition standard for all hospitals and is translated into action through a toolkit for all staff involved in the provision of food and nutrition care (including chefs and catering staff, dietitians, doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, speech therapists, environmental health, procurement staff, and many more).

“I am particularly delighted to be here this afternoon, as hospital food has been one of my ministerial priorities since coming into office. One of the key themes of Healthy Ireland is healthy eating, and this Policy incorporates our Healthy eating messages for nutritionally well patients, while also focusing on the importance of nourishing food as a core part of patient treatment in hospitals to meet their nutritional needs,” the Minister for Health Simon Harris said Thursday afternoon.

“We have asked patients in hospitals some food-related questions in our National Patient Experience Survey in 2018 to find out what is working well in Irish hospitals and what needs to be improved. Over 13,000 patients completed the Survey and 71% of patients rated food good or very good. It is essential we continue to improve on this. The benefits of this policy are obvious.”

“This work is an excellent example of collaborative working and I would like to thank all those involved and to encourage catering and health professionals in all acute hospitals to embrace the Policy recommendations and put them into practice. By doing this, they will help patients attain and sustain good health during their hospital stay,” Harris said.

Barbara Gillman, Clinical Specialist Renal Dietitian, said: “On admission to hospital, patients will be screened to assess if they are nutritionally well or nutritionally at risk from conditions such as malnutrition, diabetes, allergies, swallowing issues, or perhaps they may need assistance with feeding or aids for eating and drinking. Once their needs are assessed, they will be assigned an appropriate hospital menu, or will be referred to a dietitian for a nutritional care plan and assistance if necessary. The patient will then be screened weekly to ensure their needs continue to be met.”

“Other initiatives in hospitals across the country include making mealtimes matter (minimising unnecessary interruptions at meal times, preparing the patient for their meal), colour coded menus/menu cards and serving trays to highlight a patient’s specific nutritional needs, replacement meals, education and training for all relevant staff, liaison between catering and dietetic departments to develop menus that provide the nutrition standard, and recommendations to minimise fasting,” Gillman said.

Catering for inpatients requires food provision to a varied group with special needs, including many who are already at risk of developing malnutrition. Malnutrition affects more than one in four patients admitted to hospitals.

Margaret O’ Neill, HSE National Dietetic Advisor, outlined the impact of malnourished patients in acute hospitals:

“1 in every 4 patients admitted to hospitals are malnourished. Malnutrition is directly related to increased length of stay and complications for patients. It adversely affects every system in the body and increases mortality risk at all ages and across care settings. By undertaking screening on admission and by making mealtimes matter, hospital staff are promoting and maintaining an environment that is conductive to people enjoying their meals and having appropriate assistance to safely consume optimal amounts of their foods and drinks.”

The Policy was developed by the HSE in response to a request from the then minister for Heath, to update the Department of Health: Food and Nutritional Care in Hospitals, Guidelines for Preventing Under-Nutrition in Acute Hospitals (2009). The policy will be supported by a National Clinical Guideline: Nutrition Screening and Use of Oral Nutrition Support for Adults in the Acute Care Setting (Currently in development and expected publication date late 2019).

The policy applies to all adult patients in Acute Hospitals including Inpatients, Emergency Departments, and Day Procedure Units. All staff involved in the provision of food and nutrition care should use the policy recommendations to review and further develop services.

Further information and links to the policy here

Published at Mon, 22 Apr 2019 04:36:32 +0000, source HSE Ireland’s new Food, Nutrition and Hydration Policy is launched.

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