The Hungry in Hospital report concerns the importance of food in relation to nutrition, and how nutrition is important when people are ill in terms of the healing process. It explores how food is therefore part of a patient's treatment, the reputation of hospital food, and suggests that health is being seriously affected when people in hospital do not eat or drink enough. The aims and recommendations of the report highlight the importance of nutrition in hospital, why patients leave hospital undernourished, it examines whose role is it to feed patients. The Hungry in Hospital report was written in January 1997, the rationale in choosing this particular report stems from a mixture of personal patient experience and now, a decade later, the concerns of the report are evident in everyday practice in my role as a student nurse.
[...] pp1131-1135 Audit Commission (2002) Acute hospital portfolio: review of national findings www.audit-commission.gov.uk/publicationsbrcatering.shtml accessed: Casey, G., (2003) Nutritional support in wound healing. Nursing Standard. Vol. 17(23), pp55-58 Collins, C., (1996) Nutrition and wound healing. Care of the Critically Ill. Vol pp87-90 Cryer, P., (2002) Better Hospital Food. www.betterhospitalfood.com accessed: Davies, C., (2002) Biting changes. Nursing Times. Vol. 98(45), pp44-45 Davies, C., (2002) The Care Standards Act: what does it mean for you?Proceedings of the conference, Wholesome, Appealing and Balanced. London, Royal Society for the Promotion of Health Department of Health (2000) The NHS Plan: A Plan for Investment, A Plan for Reform. [...]
[...] Both these incidents confirm the findings of the report and further establish a recommendation of the report that “Those patients needing assistance with eating and drinking must be helped whilst their meals are hot and appetizing.” In examining the responsibilities of the nurse the report indicates that where necessary patients should have special equipment to help them eat. This finding is substantiated by Davies (2002) who states, “eating may present an insurmountable obstacle for patients with a physical disability, and various aids can help in such situations”. [...]
[...] This figure may be a more accurate and reliable indication of the extent of malnutrition today, as indicated in the hungry in hospital report. During my practice placement it was the protocol for any patient requiring assistance to be helped with their meals, all patients were encouraged to eat and drink, food and fluid charts were documented each meal time. It would seem probable that the patient referred to would possibly have left hospital in an undernourished state pertaining to her sociocultural aspects, but based on my placement experience I would disagree with the quoted figures indicating the percentages of malnourished patients. [...]
[...] In the case of surgical patients wound places increased metabolic, and consequently nutritional demands on the patient, which may or may not be met depending on the size and duration of the wound, the amount of exudative loss, and the nutritional status of the patient before the surgery”. (Collins 1996). One long stay patient undergoing continuing surgical debridement for extensive venous leg ulcers was aware that her poor nutritional status was having an effect upon wound healing. However her reluctance to eat arose from drug induced nausea, and clinical depression following the recent death of her husband. The report states that “many patients, particularly those who have been in hospital for extended periods of time leave hospital in an under nourished state”. [...]
[...] By contrast the Royal College of Nursing whilst not denying there is still a serious shortage of nurses, welcomes the fall in nursing vacancies with three thousand or more nurses returning to practice, or training to return. (Royal College of Nursing 2001). Outlined also in the report is the suggestion that nursing staff have pressure to undertake more ‘pressing' or ‘glamorous' duties and this could prevent providing assistance with feeding. During my placement, lunch times on the ward were certainly very busy with nursing staff facing contesting demands. [...]
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