“MUST DO” Promoting Good Nutrition in a Community Hospital in Northern

Leader(s)Siobhan Shannon (Informatics Nurse), Jane Leighton (Deputy Ward Manager) and Marie McKillop (Staff Nurse)
LocationDalriada Hospital, Northern Health Social Care Trust
DurationNovember 2013-June 2015
Received for PublicationOctober 2015

The staff at a community hospital in Northern Ireland identified the need to improve nutrition and the patient’s experience at meal times. A successful application was submitted to Foundation of Nursing Studies (FoNS) Patients First Programme to provide support with this project.

The project team identified key stakeholders and invited them to join a steering group to assist in the implementation and development of the project. Nutritional practice was benchmarked using the Northern Ireland Promoting Good Nutrition Strategy (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2012) and its Ten Characteristics of Good Nutrition. Various methods and approaches were used within the project.

The team involved were the Catering Manager, Domestic/Catering staff, Nurses, Healthcare Assistants, the patients and their carers. Nutrition was everyone’s concern and this was embraced by all staff and they were involved to ensure the patient had the best outcome.

The creation and implementation of a newly devised person centred care plan, a food chart, feedback sessions and additional training specific to nutrition, enabled the nursing staff to focus on improving the overall nutritional status of the patients.

Other changes included, implementing coloured plates and cups which evidence suggests aids visual clarity for patients living with dementia. Since the implementation of the project paper cups have now been replaced with ceramic cups, additional menu choices have been added and staff have been empowered to ask for beneficial changes to be made. There are now also readily available snacks and condiments available for patients.

Other changes included an increase in knowledge and understanding by the nursing staff of nutrition and the needs of patients in hospital as well as the importance of these being tailored to their needs. This project has also resulted in a 100 percent increase in accurate completion of the MUST assessment and improved feedback from patient satisfaction surveys.

This project was supported by the Foundation of Nursing Studies Patients First Programme in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

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