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Leading the way in hospital patient nutrition

23 September 2015

Staff at QEII Hospital have been working hard to improve the nutrition of patients with their Feed not Fast project.

The new model of care is joint collaboration between dietitians, medical, nursing and food service staff.

Dietitian Sally Courtice, pictured above with project team members, said extensive work had been undertaken to improve systems hospital-wide to improve what and how much patients eat and drink to be in line with research and evidence.

“We have developed and implemented malnutrition screening procedures and pathways to improve nutritional intake across all ward areas, including preoperative and postoperative feeding protocols and supportive meal times,” Sally said.

“The project also involved changing the menu from one of chronic disease prevention to one of malnutrition prevention and treatment.

“Part of the project also entails seeking ongoing feedback from our patients regarding our hospital menu and improving the menu quality and choice available.”

Sally said to date the feedback on the project had been positive and the project was making great inroads to boost the diets of patients.

The project started five years ago and over the years has incorporated many smaller tasks, in order to significantly change the model of care.

“Our dietetic partners and students from the University of Queensland Masters of Dietetics program have assisted us with auditing and evaluating improvements and most importantly our patients, who have been critical in providing ongoing feedback to assist in improvements and ensure patient satisfaction improvements,” she said.

“With a malnutrition prevalence of 30% in acute hospitals, it is important to identify those who are at risk early in their admission and also to prevent malnutrition during the hospital stay.

“Improved nutrition offers clinical benefits in terms of recovery, reduces the risk of infections, pressure injuries, mortality and there are also significant cost benefits to the health care system.”

The project work has become constant with yearly patient satisfaction and intake surveys to determine future improvements. There is also ongoing evaluation occurring with our malnutrition screening and interventions.

In the next few months the Feed not Fast project team will be working with patients to make further menu improvements, particularly for multicultural diets and those requiring texture modified diets and working with nursing and medical teams to reduce fasting periods before and after surgery.

Last updated 23 November 2016
Last reviewed 23 September 2015

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