Patients with a terminal illness may experience reduced oral intake, loss of appetite or dysphagia making eating and drinking more difficult. The impact from these symptoms, along with disease progression, deterioration and fatigue, not only affect the patient physically but also psychologically. Key to meeting nutritional needs is a holistic assessment with the involvement of the multidisciplinary team and the patient, to ensure a realistic plan of care to provide nutritional intake are discussed and documented.
We took a collaborative approach with clinical and catering teams working closely to identify areas for improvement. Feedback from our patients suggested it was timely to review our approach to our menu of traditional fayre. Compton Care reviewed our nutritional approach and scoped our patients to identify preferences. We learned that patients wanted choice, so the ability to offer a wide range of choices at any time of the day - when the patient wants it - was important to us. Our catering team worked hard using modern food preparation techniques, increasing efficiency and reducing waste to allow us to achieve this goal.
Our team initiated a number of new approaches to support this holistic approach to nutrition. The completion of a patient-led assessment for every patient is the start of the patient’s nutritional journey. We developed an all-day menu allowing patients to have a wide range of choices, grouped into savoury, sweet or soothing. This menu was further developed to ensure options can be adapted to different textures (in line with IDDSI).
The all-day menu consists of smaller amounts of food, beautifully presented. Portion sizes can be overwhelming so this approach makes the food look more appealing and delicious. The vast majority of choices can also be adapted to meet specific dietary needs or preferences. The team still have a dish of the day in addition to the all-day choice and the ability to fulfil specific wishes for our patients. If a patient wants a crab sandwich for example, the team will facilitate that!
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