A West Sussex care home has received a prestigious gold award for its innovative approach to residents’ nutrition.
Staff at Elizabeth House, in Bognor Regis, took part in the Nutrition Resources in Care Homes (NRICH) programme, a method of ensuring that care home residents are supported to maintain a healthy diet. Run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the programme also teaches staff to identify and tackle malnutrition.
Ahead of its participation, each of the home’s individual care plans for its residents were audited with a focus on screening for malnutrition using the malnutrition universal screening tool (MUST). In addition, staff were encouraged to adopt a ‘food first’ approach – ensuring that malnutrition could be treated as quickly as possible – as well as learning of the importance of a pleasant and supportive mealtime environment and the appropriate prescribing of oral nutritional supplements.
Following a special programme of training in communication skills, malnutrition screening and NRICH catering throughout the summer, staff were asked to implement what they had learnt over a two-month period, before being reviewed against pre-set action plan targets.
Awarding the home a gold certificate, the review pointed to several areas of success, describing the home’s menu as “varied and nourishing,” and highlighting the good practice of staff when one-to-one feeding was provided.
Home manager at the Shaw healthcare-run home, Marian Drake, said: “We are delighted with the positive feedback and have already begun work on the ongoing recommendations provided by the report. We recently purchased a smoothie maker – and will soon have another – will which enable us to make more nourishing drinks, especially for high risk residents.
“The gold accolade is testament to the hard work of the staff at Elizabeth House and their commitment to ensuring that our residents are provided with the very best care, which includes meals that are nutritious and suited to their individual needs.”
Keaton Irvine, specialist community dietitian at Western Sussex Hospitals, said: “Supporting the staff at Elizabeth House has been very rewarding and they were a pleasure to work with throughout the NRICH process.
“At Western Sussex Hospitals we are committed to working with others to improve malnutrition training and to help prevent unnecessary hospital admissions or referrals.
“We hope that our NRICH programme will become a new gold standard that many more care homes engage with to help improve nutritional care for residents.”