Better Care

Putting patients first - Nutrition and Hydration Week at Birmingham Community Healthcare

Tea and cake at West Heath Hospital
Tea and cake served traditional-style at West Heath Hospital.

Colleagues from across Birmingham Community Healthcare took part in national Nutrition and Hydration Week’s challenge to help raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition and hydration as part of providing safe, high quality patient care. 

Staff and patients were involved in food and drink-themed events and activities throughout the week of 17 to 23 March to raise awareness and improve understanding of the vital importance of good nutrition and hydration. 

The week aimed to illustrate how, by making changes to eating and drinking habits, people can significantly improve their quality of life and wellbeing.

The week kicked off with a 'Come Dine with Me' event at West Heath Hospital, where visitors and staff got the chance to taste samples of the food that are provided by the catering services. 

One Ward 11 patient, Patricia Carroll, commented: “You can’t fault the food here and there is always plenty of choice”.  On average, patients rated the food 8 out of 10.

The idea was to highlight to visitors and staff the range of food and snacks available and the importance of protected mealtimes as part of good nutrition and hydration practice within the Trust.

Nutrition 'trolley dash' in Ward 5 at Moseley Hall Hospital.
A 'trolley dash' was an effective way to quickly give out essential nutrition and hydration information to patients, relatives and staff at Moseley Hall Hospital.

The patient safety express team then led a ‘speed-dating’ style information event for staff, which focussed on how good nutrition and hydration can prevent patients from the four harms that are a key focus for patient safety: falls, blood clots, catheters and urinary tract infections and pressure ulcers. 

Midweek, patients at West Heath were treated to an afternoon tea party, and ward patients at both our community hospitals were offered special cakes and snacks as part of 'Worldwide Afternoon Tea’.

Alongside this and armed with goodies, the community dietitians visited the wards to highlight the importance of snacks to patients who may need additional nutrition.

Later in the week, an information ‘trolley dash’ toured the wards at Moseley Hall Hospital to provide staff with goodies and information packs to spread the word about good nutrition and hydration and Harm Free Care.

Prevention of harm nurse Louise Morris said: "Patients were keen to share their experiences around the topics covered and were very complimentary about the meals provided at Moseley Hall Hospital as well as the care they received."

To end the week, aptly named ‘Foodie Friday’, delegates from the ‘speed dating’ event were asked to discuss their pledges with their peers and meetings and handovers. One delegate stated she will ‘ensure to pay more attention to the hydration status of her patients.’  

Nutrition support community dietitian Sophie Rawlings led the Trust’s involvement in the week-long campaign, with support from the community nutrition and dietetics service, catering services and the patient safety express team.

She said: “The campaign was a successful way of highlighting to staff the preventative role they can play in reducing malnutrition-related illnesses that often require complex treatments, prolong recovery periods and may delay transfer of care from hospital.”

Nutrition and Hydration Week is a collaboration between:

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'Come Dine With Me' at West Heath Hospital.
Patients, volunteers, relatives and staff sampled tasty menu options in a 'Come Dine With Me' taster session at West Heath Hospital for Nutrition and Hydration Week.