New system to help Conquest Hospital patients at meal times

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A NEW scheme designed to help vulnerable patients who need assistance at meal times has been launched by hospital bosses at the Conquest.

Those who need extra help with eating and drinking will now be served their meal on a red tray and their water will be presented in a jug with a red lid.

This colour-coded system has been designed to tell doctors, nurses and other hospital staff which patients need specific nutritional assistance.

Patients are screened by nursing staff within 24 hours of their arrival to a ward or department to determine whether they need to be put on the scheme.

The food and fluid intake of the patients is written down so that dietitians can review their progress and adjust their menu if needed to maximise their nutrition, to help speed up recovery.

Sarah Almond, the hospital trust’s head of nutrition and dietetic services, said: “We needed to put a system in place to make sure that patients who need assistance at meal times get support as many can eat well if they are given a little help.

“This initiative aims to do exactly that. My team of dietitians will be monitoring the system to see how well it works but we envisage great success.”

Alongside the red tray and lid initiative, special cutlery is provided in each ward to help patients, such as those recovering from a stroke, to eat independently again.

There has also been the introduction of a trial of insulated bowls that keep the food chilled or hot for longer.