The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) have joined forces to raise awareness of the importance of nutrition in social and healthcare settings with Nutrition Day, to be held next year.
The day will focus on providing vital advice and guidance to health and social care professionals on the action that can be taken to help prevent under-nutrition and dehydration.
Malnutrition and dehydration are factors that are cited in the cause of death of over 420 people in social and health care settings every year, according to the Office of National Statistics.
The overall aim of the day is to illustrate how, by making positive changes to eating and drinking habits, people can improve their quality of life.
The benefit of the campaign to professionals and staff within social and healthcare settings will be the preventive role they can play in catalysing a reduction in malnutrition-related illnesses that often require complex treatments, prolong recovery periods, delay hospital discharges and increase NHS costs.
Karen Oliver, NACC chairman, said: "We are proud to launch the first combined Nutrition Day. It's important to understand how much food and fluid is required on a daily basis, how this can be increased and what good practices to follow are.
"I call upon all involved in social and health care to play their part in helping us to promote this vital element of good nutritional care up and down the country. Many social and health care staff are in a position to help monitor the health of older people and it is vital we ensure they have the awareness and tools to provide the care our vulnerable patients and service users deserve."
Janice Gillan, HCA chair, added: "With more integrated partnership working between health and social care, it was a logical move to work with the NACC on promoting this vital core activity for health and social care.
"There is also a strong economic argument for supporting people with good nutrition and hydration. Evidence suggests that dehydration can lead to increased hospital stay, and increased readmission rates."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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