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Crohn's patients need 'special food while in hospital'

Crohn’s disease patients should be given special meals to help them recover in hospital, according to guidelines drawn up by caterers and a charity.

Last year it emerged that almost four-fifths of sufferers were forced to rely on family and friends to bring food to hospital for them.

In addition, 46% believed their recoveries were ”delayed or restricted” because of poor hospital food, according to a small poll of UK patients by the charity forCrohns.

“More communication between clinical staff and catering teams is required to ensure the food offered does not risk delaying recovery”

Sally Kellett

It said that given the nature of the condition and treatments, food and diet can play a significant role in patients’ recovery, particularly when reintroducing food following bowel surgery.

The charity and the Hospital Caterer’s Association (HCA) have now developed new guidelines to help hospitals create meals suitable for sufferers.

The condition, which is caused by inflammation of the lining of the digestive system, can lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss. Three-quarters of people with the condition, which affects one in every 1,000 people in the UK, will need bowel reconstructive surgery at some point in their lives.

Now the charity and the HCA have created a best practice guide for caterers which provides information on the condition and a list of suitable meals.

The new guide, launched on World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day, will help lead to more suitable food for Crohn’s disease sufferers, the charity said.

ForCrohns committee member and Crohn’s sufferer, Sally Kellett, said: “We passionately believe that hospital food needs to be improved to help patients recover.

“And more importantly, more education and communication between medical staff and catering teams is required to ensure the food we are offered does not risk delaying our recovery.”

HCA chair Andy Jones said: “It is essential that patient groups work with us at the HCA to ensure we give them the high standards they expect.

“Whilst we were concerned by the findings of forCrohn’s survey last year, it presented us an opportunity to work together to ensure that the HCA can provide vital information and guidance to ensure we can make improvements to meet the needs of Crohn’s disease sufferers when they are in hospital,” he added.

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