Do red trays improve food intake? What do you think?
Many hospitals are introducing a red tray system at mealtimes to identify patients who need help or their dietary intake monitored. It was recently introduced at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust where patients with a specific dietary requirement have their meals served on an orange tray, while water jugs with red lids are provided to patients that require their fluids to be monitored.
However in this week’s practice comment Neil Wilson, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University asks whether red tray systems are putting a sticking plaster over the greater problems of poor nursing direction and leadership.
Wilson said: “The introduction of a vast amount of initiatives - such as “nutritionally screening” all patients on admission, even if the initial nursing assessment identifies they are at minimal risk of being nutritionally deficient - have increased the documentation workload for nurses. Alongside this, “red tray systems” and “red water jugs” for those at risk of dehydration/malnutrition have only proved to put a sticking plaster over the problem of poor nursing direction, leadership and the lack of management support for nursing quality care”.