NHS England launches new nutrition and hydration guidance

NHS England launches new nutrition and hydration guidance
'Guidance - Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration 2015-2018
09/10/2015 - 10:27
NHS England has launched new guidance on ‘commissioning excellent nutrition and hydration’.

The guidance was developed by the National Strategic Advisory Group, which included representatives from the Hospital Caterers Association, Age UK, National Association of Care Catering and the British Dietetic Association.

The document outlines why commissioners should make nutrition and hydration a priority; how to tackle the problem; how to assess the impact of commissioned services; how commissioners have begun to tackle the problem; and further resources to help commissioners address the issue.

Malnutrition affects around one in three patients admitted to acute care, 35% of those admitted to care homes and leaves an annual bill exceeding £19 billion, according to the document.

It urges commissioners to include a focus on preventing malnutrition and dehydration; develop nutrition and hydration care pathways; ensure the issues are in the contracting, quality assurance and performance and monitoring of commissioned services; implement an improvement trajectory; and ensure the process is taking an integrated approach that provides an all-encompassing approach.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said: “The link between nutrition and hydrations and a person’s health is a fundamental part of any stage of life, but all the more so for the sick or vulnerable.

“Person-focused, quality compassionate care involves looking at what matters to a person as a whole, not only concentrating on their specific medical condition. This document draws together resources and research which will stimulate thinking about and approaches to the central role of nutrition and hydration in caring for people.”

Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer for NHS England, said: “This is a practical guide, not only for commissioners but also for providers and other key stakeholders including service users.

“It will encourage local dialogue to improve nutrition and hydration and as a consequence realise other important benefits such as reducing risk of falls and making best use of nutritional supplements. It emphasizes a person-centered approach and helpfully gathers together the evidence.

To join in the discussion surrounding nutrition and hydration, use the hashtag #NutritionGuidance on Twitter.

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