This the third year for Nutrition and Hydration Week but this year it has been very different – we have worked in collaboration with our colleagues from the Hospitals Caterers Association (HCA) and the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) in the belief that our combined efforts would have a much wider target audience.
Our mission was simple – we wanted to create a global movement that would reinforce and focus energy, activity and engagement on nutrition and hydration as an important part of quality care, patient experience and safety improvement in health and social care settings.
For me, the key to Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014 is not about telling people what to do – it’s about allowing and supporting individuals, teams and organisations to get involved in something that provides an opportunity to showcase their practices or to make changes to the services they provide.
Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014 is a call to action to improve the nutrition and hydration for the people that we provide care for, regardless of care setting, organisation, region or country. It is about everyone recognising that they make a contribution to improving the health and well-being of people in their care and it is wonderful to see healthcare teams working together to make a real difference.
There is evidence that poor nutrition and hydration care contributes to poor patient experience and can seriously undermine a person’s health and wellbeing, reducing their ability to recover and increases mortality. There is also evidence that poor and inconsistent practice in nutrition and hydration care can lead to serious and avoidable harm – this is why we need to focus energy and activity on this key element of care.
What can you do?
The most important thing you can do is to get involved and pledge your support for Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014 – make a commitment to make a difference to people in your care.
On the Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014 website there are some suggestions and ideas of things you might like to do during the week. These suggestions are all based on previous activities that people have done (a key theme of the week – don’t reinvent – share and learn) – it’s your week and your opportunity to make a difference to the people in your care so pledge to do something that is important to you.
You can pledge your support on the Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014 website.
The second most important thing you can do is to tell everyone that you are supporting Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014. You can do this via the website or follow us on twitter @NHWeek #NHW2014.
Understanding safe placement of nasogastric feeding tubes
Monday 17th March, 0900-1000
Hosted by: Andrea Cartwright and Barbara Dovaston (National Nurses Nutrition Group)
Keeping kidneys healthy
Tuesday 18th March, 0900-1000
Hosted by: Dr Richard Fluck, National Clinical Director (Renal), NHS England
Can a simple tool be used to identify and treat behavioural feeding difficulties in people with dementia?
Wednesday 19th March, 0900-1000
Hosted by: Lee Martin, Registered Dietician & Researcher
Digital Health: the future for delivering nutritional care
Thursday 20th March, 0900-1000
Hosted by: Rachel Masters, Senior Specialist Dietitian, County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust
Or you could join our online chef event on Tuesday 18 March we will be holding a day of online cooking demonstrations by some of the country’s leading healthcare catering chefs, and we are delighted that the Local Authorities Catering Association (LACA) Chef of Year 2013 is also taking part.
It’s not too late to be involved – I really hope you will!
Caroline Lecko, Patient Safety Lead – NHS England
Caroline has led on nutrition and patient safety since joining the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) in 2006 and has subsequently transferred to the patient safety team within the NHS England. Caroline currently leads on projects related to nutrition and hydration, pressure ulcer prevention and primary care.
Since 2006, Caroline has worked on a range of national and international projects to raise awareness of the importance of good nutritional care to prevent avoidable harm to patients and service users.
These projects have included the development of the Hydration Best Practice Tool for Healthcare, the 10 Key Characteristics of Nutritional Care Factsheets and the Dysphagia Diet Food Descriptors.
Caroline has used her interest in social movement methodology to design and deliver two national Nutrition and Hydration Patient Safety focused weeks and is currently working the National Association of Care Catering and Hospital Caterers Association on the plans for Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014.
Caroline has also been involved in many national policy and advisory groups including the development of the Care Quality Commissions Outcome 5 ‘Meeting Nutritional Needs’ standards, Department of Health Nutrition Action Plan, Parliamentary Hydration Forum and recently the Malnutrition Task Force..