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Patients join in Worldwide Afternoon Tea

Published: 25 March 2014

Patients at Torbay Hospital became part of an international event last week when they were treated to a cream tea to celebrate Nutrition and Hydration Week 2014’s Worldwide Afternoon Tea.

Torbay Hospital staff and volunteers decorated the ward day rooms with bunting and balloons and brought out china cups, saucers and cake stands. Extra volunteers came in on the day to help out with serving the 850 scones freshly baked early that morning by the catering team.

Nutrition and Hydration Week, which ran from 17 to 23 March this year, is an annual event run jointly by Patient Safety First, the Hospital Caterers Association and the National Association of Care Catering. The aim is to create a global movement to promote engagement and focus on nutrition and hydration as an important part of quality care, experience and safety improvement in health and social care settings.

The focus of Nutrition and Hydration Week is on encouraging malnourished people to eat well. Approximately one in three people* who are admitted to UK hospitals and care homes are found to be malnourished or at risk of malnourishment.

Torbay Hospital runs a Mealtime Companions scheme which aims to improve patient nutrition by actively encouraging patients to eat in a calm but sociable atmosphere.

Jane Viner, Director of Professional Practice, Nursing and People’s Experience at the Trust, said: “When you are unwell, it’s not unusual to lose your appetite. Being offered something that appeals to the taste buds is often a good kick-start to getting your appetite back again.

“Also having someone to sit and chat to makes eating a much more pleasant and sociable experience for most patients, especially those who may be reluctant to eat or who take a long time to finish a meal. Our volunteer mealtime companions play a big part in helping us ensure our patients are sufficiently nourished and hydrated.”

During a long day of chemotherapy treatment on Ricky Grant Day Unit, patient Lorraine Roberts, said: “This has been a real treat. I’ve been here since early morning and this unexpected cream tea has really brightened my day.”

Staff and visitors to the Hospital were also able to join in and buy cream teas at the various cafés and restaurants on site. In addition, there was lots of information available regarding nutrition and hydration at display stands created by two Plymouth University students based at the Hospital; Nicola Whitford and Helen Spillman.