An initiative by north east NHS staff to improve patient experiences at mealtimes has been a huge success.
Ten months ago staff at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), a provider of mental health and disability services introduced the ‘Magnificent Seven’ initiative which was developed in partnership with staff, patients and carers.
Tony Wealleans, Catering Manager at NTW said: “The initiative is quite simple in that we can all put things in place to improve dining areas on our wards which will enhance the meal experience.
“We want our patients to see meal times as an enjoyable experience whilst in our care.
“The therapeutic role of food within the caring and healing process cannot be underestimated.”
The ‘Magnificent Seven’, a set of seven guiding principles has been designed to assist food service and ward staff to deliver the best service they possibly can.
For many patients in hospital a highlight of the day is food and mealtimes.
Since its introduction over 300 visits have taken place to wards across the Trust and a recent audit shows a 92 per cent improvement with the remaining eight per cent only narrowly missing out.
Work will now continue to ensure the 100 per cent target is reached.
The initiative covers issues such as meal ordering, preparing food, protected meal times, preparing the environment, food hygiene, meal presentation, food service, the dining room experience and communication.
Tony added: “We have come a long way in a short space of time and I’m delighted with the excellent results we have recorded whilst carrying out the audits.
“The wards should be proud of their achievements as their hard work has helped make significant improvements to the whole patient meal experience.
“It’s important we get this right as mealtimes are not only a way to ensure correct nutritional intake, but also an opportunity to support social interaction at mealtimes.”