12 March 2018

National Nutrition and Hydration week and National Swallowing Awareness day

Nutrition and Dietetic teams at the Trust are holding displays and activities at Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH to raise awareness of malnutrition as part of National Nutrition and Hydration week 2018 (12th to 18th March) and on Wednesday 14th March our Speech and Language Therapists will have a display as part of National Swallowing Awareness Day.

Nutrition and hydration week

Nutrition and hydration week

Our Nutrition and Dietetic teams will be encouraging patients and visitors to undertake the BAPEN Self-Screening Tool for malnutrition. The tool can be used by anyone who is concerned that they may be at risk of becoming malnourished or anyone who has concerns about someone they care for and is available for free from the BAPEN website, together with advice on improving nutritional intake.

Lucinda Silva, Advanced Specialist Dietitian for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Approximately one third of people who are admitted to hospital or care homes are at risk of malnutrition and staff/carers can identify those individuals by using the BAPEN national malnutrition screening tool. Good nutrition, hydration and exercise are important for those at risk from malnutrition, dehydration and sarcopenia and will help to: aid recovery, prevent ill health, and help maintain physical strength and function. We hope that this week’s activities will raise awareness and help improve staff knowledge and skills in nutritional care and management so as to improve and provide good and effective patient nutritional care.”

Malnutrition (undernutrition) is a common and growing health problem. The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) estimated that malnutrition affects over 3 million people in the UK. Malnutrition leads to:

  • Muscle wasting
  • Increases risk of infection, complications
  • Predisposes individuals to falls and pressure ulcers,
  • Delays recovery and reduces quality of life.

The aim of National Nutrition and Hydration week is to raise awareness of the risks of, and promote the good practices that can help prevent malnutrition, dehydration and sarcopenia.

Swallowing Awareness Day

As part of National Swallowing Awareness Day our speech and language therapists will also have displays on the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative. It describes standards set for textured modified food and thickened liquids which have been internationally agreed for all ages, care settings and cultures. Speech and Language Therapists will be inviting staff and public to try samples of foods and fluids of these newly agreed standards on Wednesday at their stand.