All health professionals should share responsibility for patient nutrition, rather than the blame falling solely on nursing, according to a leading patient safety nurse.
National Patient Safety Agency nutrition lead Caroline Lecko has analysed data on patient safety incidents involving nutrition between September 2010 and August 2011.
She found patients were continuing to suffer harm on a regular basis from misplaced gastrointestinal feeding tubes, mismanagement of patients with disphagia who had difficulty swallowing and patients being kept nil-by-mouth for too long.
As part of Nutrition and Hydration week, which runs until Sunday, Ms Lecko is urging all professions to cross disciplinary boundaries for the benefit of patients. For example, she called on nurses to arrange multi professional meetings or invite catering teams onto the ward at mealtimes to carry out joint observations and identify improvements.
She said: “Nurses faced a lot of criticism for poor patient nutrition last year. What healthcare needs to understand is that, yes, nurses have got a fundamental role in getting things right, but all health professionals have a part to play.”