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Headline

"Systems such as red trays erode essential nursing skills"

Comment

As a Learning Disabilities Liaison Nurse working in two acute hospitals I agree wholeheartedly with Colin Rees's comments. I do not think that having a system in place to identify someone's additional needs prevents acute staff from thinking or delivering person-centred holistic care. Sadly, in my experience, the system does not always work as there are usually limited staff available to ensure all people with additional nutritional care needs receive their meals in a timely, safe and effective manner. Where clinical judgement can be utilised in such instances is to determine what reasonable adjustments need to be made to ensure everyone receives adeqaute hydration and nutrition during their hospital journeys. Again sadly, research suggests that particularly for people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable people, their nutritional needs are often not met in hospital, and in some cases may contribute to health deterioration or even death. I firmly believe we should embrace systems put in place to help not only the patient but the nursing staff, and rather than only seeing the negatives (ie: increased paperwork) we should look at the health and general wellbeing benefits to the patients. The hospitals I work in use the red tray system and whilst it is not without it's problems it quite clearly identifies the nutritionally vulnerable which may not always be immediately apparent. Rather than saying it doesn't work, we are trying to identify what else we need to do to make it work. You have to remember that this system was only developed because of concerns with meeting vulnerable people's nutritional needs in hospital ... back at the time when nurses were relying on their skillls, expertise and clinical judgement alone. Why can't the two work hand in hand?!!

Posted date

20 February, 2012

Posted time

3:03 pm

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