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Public sector focus: Nutrition and Hydration Week

25 March 2016 by
Public sector focus: Nutrition and Hydration Week

This year's Nutrition and Hydration Week (NHW) may just be a Guinness World Record Breaker.

Caterers and professionalsp involved in health and social care sectors across the globe marked the event, which took place earlier this month, by taking part in either a single or multi-site tea party on 16 March.

The current world record for an afternoon tea served in one place is 569 diners, or 667 diners across multiple sites. The organisers of the NHW set a challenge to create a new world record for multinational cream teas - those served in five or more countries for the same event on the same day.

Quantum Care in the UK registered to try and beat the multi-site world record and served afternoon teas across its portfolio of residential care homes. Other organisations at home and abroad that expressed an interest included the AssociaÁ§Á£o Portuguesa de Dietistas in Portugal, Monash Health in Victoria, Australia, and the Vereniging Hospitality

Management Nederland in Holland. Venues in Canada and Florida also took part in the day.

Caterers co-ordinate Compass Group UK & Ireland Healthcare Business attempted the 'world's largest cream tea party' in aid of the Alzheimer's Society. Its event involved 3,000 people across 160 sites, with tea parties held at the firm's White Oaks care homes, as well as with patients from Medirest's BMI private hospital client sites.

Unilever created tea party toolkits, including bunting and posters. Supplier Brakes provided scones, jam and clotted cream, and bottles of water were provided by LifeWater, which supplies 1,000 litres of clean drinking water to communities in need for every bottle of water it sells.

Steve Cenci, managing director for healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland, says: "It's quite an achievement to co-ordinate such a big event, and while we hope to secure the Guinness World Record, in addition to the fun, there is a serious message behind this activity which we want to convey and that is the importance of hydration. Good nutrition and hydration are essential to health and key to helping people recover quickly from illness."

How the NHW came about Nutrition and Hydration Week is an initiative between the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and Patient Safety First.

The idea came about following a conversation between Andy Jones, past chair of HCA and Derek Johnson former chair of the NACC over none other than a cup of tea. The pair then linked up with Caroline Lecko, patient safety lead at NHS England, combining the idea they'd come up with for Nutrition Day with a week already running within the NHS.

NHW is now a worldwide campaign involving thousands of organisations dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of good food and hydration. It encourages the sharing of good practices and, crucially, the need to take steps to improve matters. It aims to illustrate that by making positive changes to their eating and drinking habits, people can improve their quality of life.

Meanwhile, staff benefit by learning the preventative role they can play to reduce malnutrition-related illnesses, which often require complex treatment and have prolonged recovery periods.

Jones, managing director at AJ Associates, has been a stalwart of patient catering for more than 30 years and believes in the delivery of a nutritious and wholesome food and hydration service to all patients on the ward.

He says: "NHW has been beyond words. It's been awesome. We have had so much support from all around the globe. There are so many great pictures and stories on Twitter and Facebook, proving there is a real issue with malnutrition.

"For me Nutrition and Hydration Week raises the focus on malnutrition, which costs the UK £19b a year. Obesity tends to gets the main focus generally, but malnutrition is increasing and with the population getting older, the costs will grow."

Johnson, principal catering manager for Leeds City Council, adds: "The week has been a huge success and demonstrates how you can build a campaign to raise awareness by using positive actions rather than negative statistics. The week engages with all who come into contact with it and interest grows every year.

"The week has become the vehicle to drive real change and improvements in nutrition and hydration throughout health and social care."

Lecko agrees that there is a potential to make changes that have year-long benefits. "The actions highlighted during the week lead to positive changes," she says. "We can talk about figures and how bad it is, but the people taking part in the week help make a real difference."

Theme days for Nutrition and Hydration Week

Monday Big Breakfast

Tuesday Suppertime

Wednesday Global tea party

Thursday Thirsty Thursday

Friday Fishy or fruity Friday

Chefs graduate from UK's first care catering course

The first cohort of chefs of a new cookery course in health and social care catering are about to complete their qualification.

The course, an NVQ Level 2 diploma in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care Catering, was piloted a year ago next month, and was a collaborative effort between the NACC, the HCA and Barnet and Southgate College.

The chefs all work in hospitals and care homes, and attended the course at Hospitality House in North London every Monday for the past 20 weeks.

One chef went to the effort of making the journey from Cardiff for the duration of the course - a round trip of roughly six hours.

The diploma covers the core curriculum required by any professional chef, including teamwork, hygiene, and maintenance of health and safety, as well as cookery units focusing on fish, meat and poultry preparation as well as vegetable dishes.

Topics specific to the care sector, such as nutrition and hydration, texture-modified foods and allergies, are also covered.

Neel Radia, NACC national chair, says: "The absence of a professional qualification in health and social care catering has been a huge concern and injustice for the sector and those working within it. I'm thrilled that by working together with our association partners we are one giant step closer to redressing the balance. Caterers are already doing a great job and the examples of excellence we see daily are inspirational.

The long-term aspiration is to roll-out the course to colleges nationwide, added Radia.

"The endorsement that this qualification brings will ensure that standards continue to rise by giving caterers the training, recognition and pride they deserve. It will also broaden the sector's appeal for schoolleavers, attracting new talent and flair and this is incredibly exciting for us all."

Tracey McIntosh, director of employer partnerships at Barnet Southgate College, adds: "The course gives chefs in the care and NHS sector the recognition and the acquisition of new skills which ultimately improves the experience of the users. The college is so proud to be involved in such an innovative offer."

Mark Taylor, foodservice channel controller at Premier Foods, has been involved in the qualification project alongside the associations. He says: "The chefs have achieved so much and we will make sure they get a proper graduation ceremony to recognise their hard work."

Lecko adds: "The course has been an amazing phenomenon. Thank you to Barnet and Southgate College for believing in our vision. People in care deserve the best possible care, and that includes food."

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