Introduction The hospice recognised the importance of good nutrition for palliative care patients but there was a lack of research in relation to their nutritional needs. As a result, in 2008, it established a nutritional working party.
▶ Increase the diet and nutritional needs knowledge of clinical staff
▶ Improve recording of individual dietary needs
▶ Give patients permission to eat what they choose and develop the food choices available to them
▶ Review of the availability and benefit of nutritional supplements
▶ Improved the quality of nutritional advice across all departments.
Method To form a multi professional group who has representation from the nursing and medical teams, community dietician, catering department and volunteers. The group meets at 6 weekly intervals and its purpose is to:
▶ Educate all staff members on the provision of nutritional care for patients with life limiting illness
▶ Create new initiatives to enhance the provision of nutritional care
▶ Develop more collaborative working with multi professionals in nutritional care.
Results The group has initiated:
▶ Nutritional theme weeks
▶ Alcoholic drinks menu
▶ Increased variety of food choices
▶ Education board and resources folder
▶ Training sessions in relation to food choices and appropriate nutritional supplements.
Conclusion There has been positive verbal feedback from staff members and service users. The working group has demonstrated excellent collaborative working leading to a greater understanding of nutritional care and has highlighted the need for future innovations, such as nutritional competencies, and the development of nutritional assessments.
The hospice is participating in the Help the Hospices patient survey the results of which will inform this work. It has also participated in a Help the Hospices pilot to develop a nutritional assessment tool.
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