Building a Better Health Service

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Food First Project for over 65’s in St Mary’s Hospital

Promoting Food First model and managing Hospital Clinical Nutrition products, St Mary's Hospital, Phoenix Park, Dublin

The Food Project, Phoenix Park reduces patients' reliance on Oral Nutritional Supplements by improving mealtime practices in St. Mary's Hospital.

How it works

A new system was introduced to make mealtime a much better experience for both patients and residents in St. Mary's Hospital.

This was done with a step-based approach which involved:

·        Screening patients at risk of malnutrition

·        The introduction of mealtime innovations

·        Nutrition training for staff

·        The standardisation of dietary documentation

Alongside improving practices, a new ordering system for Oral Nutritional Supplements was designed by a senior dietitian to monitor usage and associated costs.

The team

The success of this project would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and passion displayed by interdepartmental hospital staff for patient-centered care.

Led by dieticians, this campaign was a collaborative project including the catering department and ward catering staff, the speech and language therapy department, nursing and nurse practice development, stock department, St. Mary’s hospital and Cherry Orchard hospital, health care assistants, the activity department and hospital management.

Impact of this project

The previous system was inefficient, time consuming, expensive and often led to high wastage. This project not only addressed these issues but also raised awareness around the importance of good nutrition practices. It also subsequently achieved cost savings for the hospital.

This project has demonstrated how working collaboratively , streamlining existing practices, providing education and effective communication can empower staff to apply their knowledge and expertise to make good nutrition everyone’s responsibility in the hospital.