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'Food for Thought' at Nutrition Conference

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Department of Health’s Nutrition Conference entitled ‘Food for Thought’, led by the Noble's Hospital Nutrition Action Group (NAG), was held recently and attracted over 70 healthcare professionals from a variety of different healthcare settings across the Island.

Member for Health, Dudley Butt MLC said:

'The work of NAG aims to increase our understanding of the importance of good nutrition and hydration, which are essential for good health, wellbeing and recovery after illness. It is encouraging to see that this latest conference has grown in popularity and scope, continuing to provide an opportunity for healthcare professionals to share best practice in this field with talks about a range of practical methods for preventing malnutrition in different patient groups, both in acute hospital settings and community healthcare.'

The morning commenced with an introduction from Ms Millie Bello, Consultant Surgeon and Associate Medical Director, Patient Safety. Ms Bello spoke about the vital importance of good nutrition for all people, but particularly those who are vulnerable due to illness or surgery, highlighting the physical effects of malnutrition on their subsequent recovery, both as inpatients and on discharge.

Ms Bello’s introduction provided an excellent platform from which the remaining speakers, including Senior Dieticians, Senior Nurses, and Speech and Language Therapists, could deliver their presentations. Presentations focussed on a range of practical tips for preventing malnutrition in different patient groups, including feeding people with dementia; a diet for very elderly people with diabetes; food modifications for people with swallowing problems; the implementation of a malnutrition screening tool in community nursing; and the role of volunteer dining companions at Noble’s Hospital. The catering administrator from Noble’s Hospital also gave a very informative talk about how food is locally sourced, cooked and served, and the considerations that go into menu planning.

Overall feedback from the Conference was excellent, with the majority of the speakers being rated as ‘excellent’ on the evaluation forms. Comments received included “excellent – all staff would benefit from this”, “very good informative and educational day” and “food for thought!”.

Jayne Kerruish, Senior Nurse, Patient Safety and Governance said:

'On behalf of the Noble's Hospital Nutrition Action Group, I would like to thank all our speakers, and in particular Ms Bello, for taking time out of their busy clinical schedules to present very interesting and informative topics. Ensuring that patients are properly nourished when they are in our care is of fundamental importance, and having the opportunity to share knowledge and experience in a forum such as this, is tremendously helpful and inspiring. ‘Food for thought’ is what NAG was aiming to deliver and, judging by the wonderful feedback we have received, I think we have achieved this aim.'

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