10 key characteristics of ‘good nutrition and hydration care’

In 2015 NHS England was asked by Department of Health to review the Council of Europe ’10 key characteristics of good nutrition and hydration care’. These have been reviewed and changes been made following feedback from stakeholders that included patient and public representative organisations; NHS providers; commissioners; national NHS organisations; catering providers and independent pharmaceutical¬† food supplements providers and professional organisations (BAPEN, BDA). The implementation of the ’10 key characteristics of good nutrition and hydration care’ is a requirement to meet the Hospital Food Standards SC19 in the NHS Contract for hospitals.

The updated 10 key characteristics are:

  1. Screen all patients and service-users to identify malnourishment or risk of malnourishment and ensure actions are progressed and monitored.
  2. Together with each patient or service user, create a personal care/support plan enabling them to have choice and control over their own nutritional care and fluid needs.
  3. Care providers should include specific guidance on food and beverage services and other nutritional & hydration care in their service delivery and accountability arrangements.
  4. People using care services are involved in the planning and monitoring arrangements for food service and drinks provision.
  5. Food and drinks should be provided  alone or with assistance in an environment conducive to patients being able to consume their food (Protected Mealtimes).
  6. All health care professionals and volunteers receive regular raining to ensure they have the skills, qualifications and competencies needed to meet the nutritional and fluid requirements of people using their services.
  7. Facilities and services providing nutrition and hydration are designed to be flexible and centred on the needs of the people using them, 24 hours a day, every day.
  8. All care providers to have a nutrition and hydration policy centred on the needs of users, and is performance managed in line with local governance, national standards and regulatory frameworks.
  9. Food, drinks and other nutritional care are delivered safely.
  10. Care providers should take a multi-disciplinary approach to nutrition and hydrational care, valuing the contribution of all staff, people using the service, carers and volunteers working in partnership.

The 10 Key Characteristics of Good Nutrition and Hydration

A short video to highlight the things that must be done to ensure good nutrition and hydration in hospitals and the wider community.