Individual Experiencing Health & Social Care.

Individual Experiencing Health & Social Care.

This protected mealtime initiative “encourages the suspension of all non-urgent clinical activity on wards during mealtimes. During this time patients can eat their meals without interruptions and nursing staff are available to offer help to those who need it. In the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report, it was recognized that the initiative had been successful and should be introduced in all hospitals.” (Nutritional Care Group Report 2008) This policy can only be effective, though, if the patients are able to eat most, if not all of the food that is meant for them.

A good diet will go a long way in improving a patients chance to recover fully, and overcome malnutrition and the risk of inspection. Protecting mealtimes helps in tackling poor nutrition and can also reduce the long term costs of healthcare. Also, some Patients might have special dentition needs and may have difficulties eating hard food may need softer meals. Protected, regular meals taken in a calm, unhurried and social atmosphere will promote the eating of such soft meals. Thus, there can be marked improvement in the nutritional intake of these patients, especially those who can be moved from their bedrooms to a suitable dining area during the protected mealtimes.

Protecting mealtimes also creates a social atmosphere of communal dining, which can support increased food consumption on the part of the patients due to encouragement and the interaction of the staff and patients. Communal Dining environments are often more “home-like” or usual experiences for patients than eating off an over bed tray, either in or beside a bed, which in turn supports optimal intake. According to Simon Williams, “Making sure that our patients get the opportunity to eat and enjoy appetizing and nutritious food is one of the most important aspects of nursing care.

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