The week, which takes place every year, aims to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally.
Nightingale Hammerson’s theme this year will involve cooking and baking, to encourage participation and involvement from those normally less able to take part, while raising awareness of the benefits of eating and keeping hydrated.
There will be tea parties, baking sessions and cream teas among other special events throughout the week at the home.
Staff will also be inviting relatives and volunteers to support with meals, highlighting the serious effects poor nutrition and dehydration can have, with educational leaflets being distributed to support the cause.
There will also be an emphasis on the importance for staff to keep hydrated during the time they spend on duty.
Clemence Muchingaguyo, Nutrition and Hydration lead at Nightingale Hammerson, said: “The importance of nutrition and hydration should not be underestimated, but unfortunately we hear so many stories of people in care homes who are malnourished or deprived of food and drink. Not only is nutrition and hydration vital to everyday life, but the process of getting people together at meal times is important for social and spiritual wellbeing, as well as allowing people in care homes to replicate memories of family meal times or eating out in restaurants.
“To celebrate Nutrition and Hydration week, we will focus on promoting nutrition and hydration but also raising awareness of dehydration and malnutrition and its prevention. Due to the ageing process, residents can lose appetite and their sense of thirst which can lead to acute illnesses.”
Nightingale Hammerson has a forum made up of carers and nurses called “Nutrition and Hydration advocates”, who meet every two months to debate and share ideas about different ways of encouraging better nutrition and hydration intake for residents. They work closely with a Wandsworth community dietician who also attends the meetings and offers advice for residents.
Some of Nightingale Hammerson’s initiatives throughout the year include:
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club, which takes place every Friday, encourages residents to get involved in preparing and choosing their food, evoking memories of eating out in a café. This is a healthy and fun alternative to normal breakfast routines, and means that residents are picking and enjoying food and drink in a friendly and engaging atmosphere.
‘Meals Matter’ is a weekly initiative where staff are invited to join residents for lunch to improve the dining experience and encourage residents to eat well will also take place. Meal times are great for positive social interaction and communication, and eating together promotes companionship as well as ensuring residents are eating well.