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NHS England is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition and hydration in all health and social care settings.
Nutrition and Hydration Week, which starts on Monday March 17, is a week of action to improve awareness and understanding of the significance of good nutrition and hydration in health and social care environments.
There is evidence that poor nutrition and hydration care contributes to poor patient experience and can seriously undermine a person’s health and wellbeing, reduce their ability to recover and increase mortality. There is also evidence that poor and inconsistent practice in nutrition and hydration care can lead to serious and avoidable harm.
Throughout Nutrition and Hydration Week, NHS organisations across the country and other providers of health and social care, such as care homes, will be taking part in a variety of activities including:
- the launch of a new training aid to support people caring for patients who have dysphagia (difficulties with swallowing)
- a World Tea Party that encourages social and health care providers to serve afternoon tea
- an Online Chef event, which is a day of online cooking demonstrations
NHS England has worked with Focus Active Learning to develop a unique game-based training tool to help improve detection and management of dysphagia. This project has been sponsored by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition and will be launched on Monday March 17.
The game is aimed primarily at frontline health professionals and support staff in hospitals, care homes and hospices along with staff undergoing training.
It features a board game for face-to-face engagement at the frontline of healthcare and an online version that can be played on any device to extend the reach and impact of the programme.
Dr Mike Durkin, NHS England Director of Patient Safety, said: “Dysphagia is a condition that can affect people of all ages but is often poorly understood by healthcare workers.
“We hope that this new training aid will provide a practical tool to build knowledge about this condition and improve detection and management of dysphagia.”
Dr Durkin added: “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.”