Mealtimes to be 'sacred' at hospital

ATTEMPTS are being made to keep mealtimes sacred at Ipswich Hospital, after an inspection revealed nutrition on the wards should be improved.The national Essence of Care audit, designed to compare standards and share the best ways of working, was launched at the hospital last summer.

By Tracey Sparling

ATTEMPTS are being made to keep mealtimes sacred at Ipswich Hospital, after an inspection revealed nutrition on the wards should be improved.

The national Essence of Care audit, designed to compare standards and share the best ways of working, was launched at the hospital last summer.

It highlights eight aspects of care seen as crucial to ensuring a high quality of care for patients, including food, privacy and dignity, and personal and oral hygiene.

Privacy rated 'reasonably well,' according to director of nursing Clare Barlow, who announced that the hospital is one of three finalists taking part in this year's Nursing Times awards to be held next month, for the Essence of Care category.

But she admitted the hospital had 'not scored too well' for food and nutrition.

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She said: "This was done over a year ago and we have taken some important actions," and added that the hospital is awaiting the results of a second audit done since.

She said staff had been trained, and every patient is now screened to assess their nutritional needs, which has resulted in many patients being referred to the dietetics department for extra care.

Ms Barlow said: "I know some doctors have changed the way they do their ward rounds so that during lunchtimes periods there is a quiet time on the ward, and patients are not taken off for x-rays or physiotherapy. There will always be some occasions when we can't avoid disturbing people, but it is a very exhausting experience being in hospital so any quiet that we can give patients is really important."

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