Put to the taste
18 April 2015
There’s been a lot in the media about the state of hospital food but for an increasing number of patients it is really hard to swallow, nothing to do with the quality, but because of their illness they actually find it difficult to swallow food.
These include patients of all ages needing speech therapy and a
lot with neurological conditions, such as strokes, head & neck
cancer, dementia, Parkinson's or infections.
Now, the hospital catering team, Medirest, have brought in a new
range of modified textured food for all wards to help give patients
affected their dignity and bring life to their tastebuds back.
And of course for staff to recommend it, they have to know what
it tastes like, so that is exactly what they did. Staff, from
consultants and rehab assistants to physios and catering assistants
to name but a few all did their best Gregg Wallace and John Torode
Masterchef impressions when putting the food to the taste test.
There are four levels of food, labelled as B-E, which come in a
thin puree, thick puree, pre-mashed or fork-mashable format, which
designed for different difficulty in swallowing groups. And despite
how some of the food might look compared to 'normal' food it has
proved to be really popular with staff.
Claire Buckell, clinical development nurse, explained the big
difference the food will make for patients. She said: "For a
patient to enjoy their food it not only needs to taste nice but it
also needs to look appetising to tempt them to eat it.
Having appealing modified texture food will play a big part in
improving the quality of care we can offer our patients because
eating properly is a vital part of their recovery. If patients
don't eat properly they will become more confused, have less
energy, become malnourished and take longer to heal. Our elderly
unwell patients often need to consume far more calories to help
their body heal.
"Previously nursing staff may have struggled to encourage the
patient when the modified texture meal didn't look very appetising.
So we took the new modified texture range to each of the adult
wards to show staff the difference and let them taste how nice the
new products looked. Every ward agreed the new product is much
nicer. A couple of staff even asked if they could finish the dish
off once everyone else had had a taste! "
Staff trying the food on Westcliff ward included Merry
Tamondong, a nurse, and Mary Burton, the ward clerk, who both gave
the food the thumbs - or should that be yums up with Mary taking a
liking to the shepherd's pie and treacle pudding and Merry voting
with her taste buds enjoying the beans on toast and lemon