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06th March 2015

Are you ready for Nutrition and Hydration Week 2015?

Senior women at home with carerThe fourth Nutrition and Hydration Week (NHW) will run from 16th-22nd March 2015. The aim of the week is to focus energy, activity and engagement on nutrition and hydration as an important part of patient safety improvement and quality of care. The long-term aim is that everyone will work towards eradicating avoidable malnutrition and dehydration in health and care settings worldwide.

With around 3 million people in the UK at risk of malnutrition, we need to engage opportunities to raise the awareness of the risks and promote the good practices that can help its prevention. Preventing malnutrition improves the health and well-being of the person at risk of, or suffering from malnutrition, and removes the burden on the health and social care services in treating and supporting those suffering from undernutrition in particular.

Attracting attention, improving standards

The Nutrition and Hydration Week initiative seeks to attract attention and improve standards around nutrition for anyone and everyone using health and social care services. When the week began four years ago it was only a Patient Safety (an NHS England domain) event. However, since combining forces in 2013, NHS England, alongside the Hospital Catering Association’s (HCA) and the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), has been collaborating further to develop the campaign, and has drawn interest globally, as well as receiving a Public Sector Health & Vitality Award.

Nutrition & Hydration Week 2015 in the UK will be keenly promoting the following:

  • The 10 key characteristics for good nutritional care, and the development of action plans to further embed these in local services and regulatory bodies
  • Protected mealtimes, so that they become an integral part of the care provided by the service and are not unnecessarily interrupted
  • Nutrition advocates for each health or social care setting, to continuously promote and enhance good nutritional care
  • Minimum standards for good nutrition in the respective settings
  • Good nutrition and hydration practices, and the sharing of good practices
  • Continued education for professionals on good nutrition and hydration to further enhance their knowledge and application of good nutritional care practices

Interestingly, these would all support the Care Quality Commission Regulation on meeting nutritional and hydration needs.

Cups raised across the globe

In addition, the campaign has issued a call to hold a Worldwide Afternoon Tea on Wednesday 18th March 2015. It can be used to highlight the need for the regular provision of food and drink to support the health and well being of service users. By serving afternoon tea in your health and social care setting, you can help promote the Week and show your commitment to improving nutritional care. So why not raise a cuppa and awareness of this important issue.

More information on nutrition and health week and how to participate in activities is available from their website.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Ayela Spiro

Nutrition Science Manager, British Nutrition Foundation

Ayela is a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, where her role involves providing expert advice on nutrition and health issues to a number of key audiences including consumers, health professionals, charities, the media and the food industry. At the heart of her work is the communication of nutrition science that promotes understanding of nutrition and health and contributes to the improved wellbeing of all.

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