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  News - Countess Of Chester Hospital, Chester Cheshire UK
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Brooker Centre
Protection for patient meals
Date : - 01/07/2009
On Monday 29th June, two wards at the Countess of Chester Hospital established Protected Mealtimes for patients.

Tower ward (53) and Castle ward (52) have embraced the initiative which encourages wards to stop all non-urgent clinical activity during mealtimes. During this time patients can eat their meals without interruptions and nursing staff are available to offer help to those who need it.

The Protected Mealtimes initiative was introduced to the NHS in 2004 as part of the Better Hospital Food programme. It continues as part of the productive ward series (2008) and is supported by the Royal College of Nursing and the National Patient Safety Agency.

Protected mealtimes is already established and running successfully on Foregate ward (49) under the supervision of Ward Manager Alison Hunt and the aim is to have protected mealtimes on all of the adult wards in the next few months.

The wards will be closed to visitors and staff between 11:50am and 12:20pm. However, visitors who are assisting with mealtimes will still be welcome. Only urgent clinical work will continue to ensure that patients do not come to any harm as a result of the initiative.

Alison Hunt, Ward Manager (49), said: “Protected mealtimes have raised awareness of the importance of patient’s nutrition. The ambient environment creates a peaceful atmosphere for patients and meal times are now an unhurried process.”

She added: “Some patients have said they didn’t realise the benefits of protected meal times until they moved to another ward, when they noticed the difference.”
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