The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) is urging people to eat healthily every day in order to prevent malnutrition during Nutrition and Hydration Week, which runs between 13-19 March.
The week, which was launched by the HCA, the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) and Patient Safety First, aims to raise awareness of good food and hydration, and the risks of malnutrition and what can be done to prevent the condition in health and social care environments.
In the UK last year over 95% of NHS Trusts and more than 2,000 care homes took part in the annual event.
Phil Shelley, chair of the HCA, said: "Despite a greater awareness of nutrition and hydration, malnutrition continues to affect millions of people in the UK each year. As caterers, we understand the importance good nutrition and hydration can play in supporting a patient's recovery and the benefits of a healthy, balanced and nutritious meal.
"Nutrition and Hydration Week is a great way of getting the message out there but it's important for us to keep it at the forefront of our minds all year long to provide the best possible care to patients."
"In many cases malnutrition is preventable, which is why as an association we continue to campaign to improve patient screening during hospital admission to ensure early identification of those at risk of malnutrition. We are also arguing for bespoke patient nutrition plans."
The awareness week encourages staff to learn preventative measures to reduce malnutrition-related illnesses. Last year, it saw hundreds of caterers try to break world record attempts for serving cream tea to over 569 diners.
Those that took part included: Quantum Care that served afternoon teas across its portfolio of residential care homes in the UK; the Associação Portuguesa de Dietistas in Portugal; Monash Health in Australia; and the Vereniging Hospitality Management Nederland in Holland.
The HCA has 15 branches nationally and comprises over 400 members. Its main objectives are the promotion, development and improvement of the standards of catering in hospitals and healthcare establishments.
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