A new strategy is being developed to improve hospital catering and nutritional care to ensure all patients, particularly vulnerable groups, have access to a healthy diet, Northern Ireland health minister Michael McGimpsey announced last week.
Almost half of older people have malnutrition when they are admitted to hospital, resulting in longer hospital stays and increased need for medication.
Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland Martin Bradley said: ‘Four out of 10 older people admitted to hospital have malnutrition on arrival and we know that patients who are malnourished stay in hospital for a longer time, require more medication, and are more likely to suffer from infections.
‘Good appetising food, presented well is as essential to good care as the medicines patients are prescribed, and the treatment they receive. Simply put, meeting patients’ nutritional requirements will help them return to health more quickly and prevent a whole range of complications which can delay recovery,’ he said.