Hospital receives top results in dementia audit

Members of the NNUH and Serco team. Photo: NNUH

Members of the NNUH and Serco team. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is celebrating receiving a 100pc rating in a national audit on care given to patients with dementia.

The National Audit of Dementia looked at many aspects of dementia care at 199 acute trusts across the UK and rated NNUH as one of the top hospitals in the UK for nutrition and hydration.

The audit, which was carried out between April and November 2016, looked at the food and drink provided for people with dementia and what hospital schemes were present to support those patients. The national average rating for nutrition is 83.8pc.

Liz Yaxley, dementia services manager at NNUH, said: 'This is fantastic news for both our patients and the trust. Keeping our patients hydrated and their nutritional intake at a good level really supports their recovery. When our patients with dementia come into hospital, it is important that their eating routine isn't disrupted. We have many food and drink initiatives taking place in the trust for our patients with dementia, which have helped us to achieve this fantastic result.'

In May 2016, the trust rolled out their finger food menu, an initiative aimed at helping patients with dementia and other needs to enjoy their food and drink, improve their nutritional intake, help maintain independence and avoid co-ordination problems with cutlery. This menu is an alternative to the usual menu and is offered to all patients who would benefit from finger foods.

Another food and drink initiative is the patient dining project, where if it is felt beneficial to a patient with dementia, senior ward staff can arrange the patient to eat in the main restaurant with their carers.

Ms Yaxley added: 'It has been a big multi-disciplinary effort to achieve this result, and I'd like to thank our staff on the wards that have pushed the initiatives and our dementia nutrition group, led by Fran Howe, who have put their all into ensuring that the nutritional needs of our patients are always met.'

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Ms Howe, deputy dietetic services manager, said: 'Eating and drinking well in hospital is vital for patient recovery, and we are delighted that we have received 100% in this national audit. As a trust, we are committed to meeting the needs of our patients who have dementia, and it is great to receive national recognition of this.'

Abi Tierney, Serco contract director, added: 'We have worked in really close partnership with the trust's clinical teams to develop a range of tasty and nutritious meals and snacks specifically designed around the needs of patients living with dementia. I'm particularly proud of our innovative finger food menu, which can be eaten easily without cutlery, allowing people to eat independently without losing out on variety and flavour.

'We're currently working on a special finger food menu for Christmas, as we're determined to ensure that people living with dementia also have the opportunity to enjoy their festive favourites.'

Other areas that were audited include information governance, the process of discharge and communication with carers and staff. The audit was carried out by looking at the trust's organisational checklist, patient case notes and staff and carer surveys were completed.