Created with the aim of supporting vulnerable patients with eating and drinking during their time in hospital, a new initiative which piloted in the Elderly Care ward at Dewsbury and District Hospital has now been rolled out throughout the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
In a bid to help vulnerable patients stave off malnutrition, which is more common in elderly people, colleagues from the Quality and Safety team worked alongside managers on Ward 15 at Dewsbury Hospital to introduce the initiative to offer supportive and enhanced mealtimes for patients by providing a visual aid for staff to easily identify patients who require individual adjustments, such as assistance with eating, providing drinks to a patient’s left or right side, or simply sitting with patients and talking with them, to make mealtimes more enjoyable.
The project allows all staff members to get involved in patient care and improvement, with huge patient wellbeing benefits as a result.
The initiative means every passing member of staff, such as Therapists, Doctors, and Phlebotomists, are aware which patients need extra support and highlighted needs are closely monitored, which is particularly helpful for support staff or those who are normally based on an alternate ward or department.
The approach results in patients with a poorer appetite having an improved intake of food and drink, which is vital for helping the body fight infections and heal faster. Staff working on the wards also have an increased sense of satisfaction and empowerment to advocate good nutrition and hydration for all patients.
Talib Yaseen, Chief Nursing Officer at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said, “This is a fantastic initiative which really showcases collaborative working across multidisciplinary teams within the Trust.
“Nutrition and hydration is everybody’s business, and it’s really important that we all get involved in patient care to provide the best outcomes we possibly can.
“I’m really proud of my colleagues for the work they’ve done on this project and I’m looking forward to seeing it rolled out across the entire Trust.”
The work will run alongside the Trust’s already established protected mealtimes; a period of time set aside when all non-essential activities on the wards stop, which prevents unnecessary interruptions to mealtimes.