Brighter Futures hits two targets to improve care in nutrition and hydration

Posted: October 4, 2019

Innovative ideas to help elderly and dementia patients

NutritionHydration 01 500We are making improvements for patients' nutrition and hydration with the introduction of new equipment that will help to encourage them to eat and drink properly.

These improvements came about thanks to the Trust's charity, Brighter Futures, which has hit two targets to purchase the equipment.

£7,000 was raised to develop pictorial menus and to purchase droplet cups.

Research shows that approximately 35 per cent of elderly patients admitted to NHS hospitals are at risk of malnutrition.

Poor nutritional status creates a vicious cycle of infection, increased length of stay, falls, and discharge to higher level of care facilities or readmissions.

The Trust knows that eating right and drinking plenty are essential for everyday health and fitness, and it's even more important when recovering from illness or injury.

NutritionHydration 02 500Maxine Buyanga, Matron and lead for nutrition, has been leading a drive across the Trust to champion the importance of nutrition and hydration, and to introduce a range of initiatives to encourage patients to eat and drink well.

Patients living with dementia and other cognitive impairments will benefit from the pictorial menus, which are designed with user-friendly layouts, colours and images of relevant foods and animals capable of boosting recognition.

Providing these patients with a name and image stimulates both the visual and language areas of the brain, increasing the chance of accurate memory recall.

If a patient is unable to communicate, they are able to point or say what they want from the menus and it means they can make their own food choices.

The A4 pictorial menus have been made available across 24 wards in Great Western Hospital and in the Swindon Intermediate Care Centre. A3 menus are also available for patients with visual impairments.

"The introduction of a pictorial menu will make a real difference in enhancing mealtime experiences," said Maxine Buyanga.

"We want to give patients back the ability to always make their own choices about their care, even down to what they would like for lunch. The menus will open up opportunities for patients who might struggle to make a decision or understand words, and will help them to pick foods that they enjoy.

"Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us to develop these brilliant menus."

Local business TE Connectivity donated £2,213 to the pictorial menu appeal.

NutritionHydration 03 500"The employees at the TE Connectivity Swindon facility have supported Brighter Futures over many years and we were delighted to be able to support this recent appeal," said Neil Steptoe, Senior Manager Technical Support at the company.

"TE Connectivity provided a grant from its corporate responsibility programme towards providing this simple means of ensuring that patients suffering with Dementia and other cognitive ailments have the ability to select and receive the food and drink necessary to satisfy their dietary needs."

The nutrition and hydration appeal has also allowed the Trust to purchase 144 droplet cups, enough for six on every ward.

The droplet cup is an innovative device that makes it easier for patients to drink, and easier for carers and health care professionals to detect if a patient isn't drinking regularly.

The base unit plays a message, and flashes, to remind users to drink.

Family members or carers can record their own personalised messages, which is especially beneficial for patients' whose first language is not English.

On a ward, the flashing base unit can be seen from a distance, so nursing staff can quickly see who has not been drinking.

Jane Leighton, Major Gifts Manager, said: "We are so grateful for all the donations received and we are always thrilled by the efforts that our local community give to our appeals. 

"Significant gifts from local businesses TE Connectivity, Lexus Swindon and support from the Trust's own Facilities Management and Catering company, Serco, really helped the fundraising efforts.

"Both the menus and droplet cups will make a profound difference to a patient's experience, bringing important decisions back to them and helping them get better quicker."

Supporters had an opportunity to see the pictorial menus and droplet cups at a Brighter Futures thank you event on Thursday, 3 October.

This gave them the opportunity to find out these innovative aids will help Great Western Hospital improve care for patients and be thanked first-hand for their generous donations.

Translate this page: