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June 16, 2014 - Health Care Professional

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) aligns Nutrition & Food Services departmental goals with CMTF Study Conclusions & Recommendations

At Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) we are striving to align our Nutrition and Food Services departmental goals with the insight passed on by the CMTF's research study conclusions and recommendations. Below are a few examples of new practices we have developed to hopefully mitigate malnutrition risk.

• A ‘ready meals’ diet order was developed to minimize barriers (unopened containers/packages on the tray) to patients who have difficulty accessing the food in front of them. We found that patients in isolation rooms often were not getting their meals on time due to nursing time constraints. Due to concern with time/temperature abuse and food safety issues we liaised with the Infection control team and were able to have our Dietary Aids enter contact isolation rooms to bring the trays directly to the patients.

• Patients were frequently off the unit around breakfast time for tests, so a ‘continental breakfast’ diet order, with nonperishable protein sources, was developed in order for patients to have breakfast once they came back to the unit, without concern of food borne illness.

• Over the past couple years a selective menu has been implemented which allows patients to have a choice of meal they will receive, as well as opportunity to have their food preferences taken, including the option of adding oral nutrition supplements to their tray if requested. The communication between Hostesses taking preferences and Registered Dietitians (RDs) has also resulted in the capturing some patients who may be at malnutrition risk.

• Our Abbott representative has been a resource to us by presenting on the CMTF • and offering to deliver presentations surrounding malnutrition to nursing and medical staff.

• Lastly, some of our RDs and Dietetic Interns conducted a research study to see if patients at malnutrition risk were being referred to the RD. There is no standardized nutrition risk screening in place at TBRHSC, and RD referrals are often generated on the basis of diagnosis. The Malnutrition Screening Tool was used during this study and it was found that some high risk patients are slipping through the cracks. The research will be presented to clinical nurse educators and RDs later this month, and from there we will assess what the next steps are to be.

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