The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has launched the first-ever Nutrition Day [20 Mar] with support from the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the National Association of Care Catering (NACC). 

The overall aim of the day was to illustrate how, by making positive changes to eating and drinking habits, people can improve their quality of life. The benefit of the campaign to professionals and staff within social and healthcare settings will be the preventative role they can play in catalysing a reduction in malnutrition related illnesses that often require complex treatments, prolong recovery periods, delay hospital discharges and increase NHS costs. 

Helen Davidson, Honorary Chairman of the BDA said: “This is such an important issue facing so many people on a daily basis.  Malnutrition and dehydration is often thought of as a third world problem, when in fact it is a significant problem in the UK.  It is estimated that on any given day there are around one million people living in their own homes who are suffering from malnutrition, and that’s doesn’t include all those people who are in a hospital or care setting. 

“Malnutrition and dehydration is a real problem in all our communities and the British Dietetic Association is proud to support the very first Nutrition Day.”   

In addition, the day promotes:
· The 10 key characteristics for good nutritional care;
· Utilising nutrition advocates for each health or social care setting;
· The minimum standards for good nutrition in the respective settings;
· Highlighting good nutrition practices;
· Highlighting good hydration practices.

Karen Oliver, NACC Chairman, added: “We are proud to launch the first combined Nutrition Day. It’s important to understand how much food and fluid is required on a daily basis, how this can be increased and what good practices to follow are. I call upon all involved in social and health care to play their part in helping us to promote this vital element of good nutritional care up and down the country.  Many social and health care staff are in a position to help monitor the health of older people and it is vital we ensure they have the awareness and tools to provide the care our vulnerable patients and service users deserve.”

The Office of National Statistics has indicated that both malnutrition and dehydration are factors that are cited in the cause of death of over 420 people in social and health care settings every year.  The HCA and NACC will provide information and supporting materials which can be used to promote good practice for all those working in these settings.  These can also be used to highlight to patients and customers the dangers of becoming malnourished or dehydrated and how to avoid suffering from these conditions. 

Janice Gillan, HCA Chair, concluded: “With more integrated partnership working between health and social care, it was a logical move to work with the NACC on promoting this vital core activity for health and social care. There is also a strong economic argument for supporting people with good nutrition and hydration. Evidence suggests that dehydration can lead to increased hospital stay, and increased readmission rates.” 

More information about Nutrition Day can be found at www.thenacc.co.uk/events/Nutrition_Day and for highlights of the nutrition talks at JFHC Live 2013 visit http://www.jfhc.co.uk/jfhc_live_2013_33265.aspx.

Posted 20/03/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com