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Get involved with N&H Week 2017

Nutrition and Hydration Week 2017 will be held from March 13 - 19 and all healthcare organisations in the UK and around the world are invited to get involved.

Recent news headlines have highlighted the alarming extent to which malnutrition is becoming a problem across the country. The number of bed days in hospital for people with a primary and secondary diagnosis of malnutrition has risen from 65,048 in 2006-7 to 184,528 in 2015-16. It is a problem that Phil Shelley, National Chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) has described as: "a hidden epidemic."

N&H Week exists to highlight the good and positive work that is being done throughout healthcare to promote good nutrition and hydration. Hospitals, care homes and any other interested healthcare organisations are invited to get involved, holding events that champion the importance of good food and drink in the healing process and for the general health and wellbeing of everyone. There may be a serious message, but events can also be fun and bring patients and staff together on a social platform - for instance the Global Tea Party that is now celebrated as a regular fixture during N&H Week.

There is now a Charter to provide direction for N&H Week. The Charter may be downloaded from the website ( and used by any healthcare organisation as a tool to develop a tailored policy for nutrition and hydration.


Aims of N&H Week

N&H Week promotes the ten key Characteristics for Good Nutritional Care. Updated in 2015, this is a UK-based scheme, but it has relevance and importance everywhere in the world. The Characteristics apply to both social care and healthcare settings in a fixed environment or the community. They include the importance of Protected Mealtimes, to minimise interruptions at mealtime and allow patients to focus on eating.

It also campaigns for the provision of Nutrition Advocates/Champions for each health or social care setting. The Nutrition Advocate is a key person in each service area who is responsible for keeping the team up-to-date with the latest on food and drink issues. The Nutrition Advocate also acts a conduit, finding solutions to issues. There are schemes in place to help organisations with this, or the N&H Week team will provide more information on request.

N&H Week encourages all healthcare providers to meet minimum standards for good nutrition in all settings, to adhere to the current legislation guidance and support professional associations in their quest to have these adopted by government, whereever you are in the world. This also includes sharing relevant international guidance, for instance, the International Dysphagia Diet Standards Initiative on standardised texture modification terms and generally sharing good nutrition and hydration practices.

N&H Week urges all healthcare providers to use it to highlight the great work carried out every day and focus the attention of other associated professionals to realise how fundamental good food and drink is in health and social care worldwide.

Positive Action

There are no rules about what events or promotions healthcare organisations can run during N&H Week, except be positive. It's about Eating for Health, which is not the same for every patient or indeed every provider. "If your service’s key message is about healthy eating and you want to use the week to promote that, then do so. If your service's key message is about fortified meals and you want to use the week to promote that, then do so. There are no rules, but whatever you do, just do it from a positive angle!"

Everyone can get involved with N&H Week, not just the catering teams. This includes staff from across all disciplines, as well as suppliers. Moving forwards, the potential for a sponsorship programme for the event is being explored.

Please let the N&H Week team know of any plans for 2017 to enable these to be communicated to relevant media to help promote the great work that is being done to secure high standards and awareness of good hydration and nutrition.

"Tell us your plans!"

Email: [email protected]