Today, 23 January 2011, sees the start of the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) and Patient Safety First webexs on nutrition and hydration for Nutrition and Hydration Week 'A taste of patient safety'.

Dr Mike Stroud, Chair of the NICE Nutrition Support in adults Guideline Development Group is leading the first webex of the week. Poor nutrition and hydration leads to poor health, increased and prolonged hospital admissions, and increased costs to the NHS. Poor nutrition care results in increased risk of infection, poor skin integrity and delayed wound healing, decreased muscle strength, depression and even premature death. There is no doubt that poor nutrition and hydration causes harm.

Nutrition Screening to detect malnutrition/ risk of malnutrition early is key to improving the quality of nutritional care that individuals in all settings receive. 93% of individuals who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition live in the community.

  1. There are four basic principles to good nutritional care which Dr. Stroud will cover today.
  2. Malnutrition must be actively identified through screening and assessment;
  3. Malnourished individuals and those at risk of malnutrition must have appropriate care pathways;
  4. Frontline staff in all care settings must receive appropriate training on the importance of good nutritional care; and
  5. Organisations must have management structures in place to ensure best nutritional practice.

BAPEN has a suite of resources to help you to improve the nutritional care you provide to your patients including the ‘MUST’ screening tool (which includes guidance on nutritional care plans). There are a range of ‘MUST’ resources to help you to implement screening effectively, including updated charts and a ‘MUST’ calculator which are available from the BAPEN website www.bapen.org.uk and an App (available via the Apple Store).

E-learning modules are also available via the BAPEN website and can be purchased and customized at an organisational level. The BAPEN e-learning module for nutrition screening using ‘MUST’ will soon also be available free of charge on the e-learning for health website and ESR.

A toolkit for commissioners is also available for your local Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Patient Safety First website – www.patientsafetyfirst.nhs.uk

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