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The importance of healthy eating and good hydration will be promoted during a week-long series of events being organised by ²gether NHS Foundation Trust. 
Annual international Nutrition and Hydration week takes place from March 16 to 22, to focus attention on the importance of eating and drinking the right things for good health and wellbeing. 
Carly Atkinson, who is a Specialist Dietitian and ²gether’s Nutritional Lead, said it was a great way to highlight the importance of these issues to service users, carer and staff. 
“What we eat and drink has a huge bearing upon our physical and mental wellbeing,” Carly explained. 
“This is why we ensure that the food we provide in our inpatient settings is high quality and nutritious, and we make sure that our service users are regularly given fluids to maintain their hydration levels.
“We also make sure that our staff working in the community speak to service users and carers about nutrition. It’s so important to maintain a healthy diet to support a healthy lifestyle.” 
Events taking place within ²gether to mark the week include: 
  • A ‘Come Dine with Me’ competition throughout the week at Oak House, in Hereford – with a prize for the person who comes up with the most nutritious and delicious menu
  • ‘Taster sessions’ for people to sample the new catering menu at the Stonebow Unit, in Hereford
  • A ‘bake off challenge’, also at Stonebow, along with a nutrition and hydration quiz 
  • Healthy smoothie making activities will take place in various Trust wards 
  • At Wotton Lawn Hospital, in Gloucester, the focus will be on cutting back on sugary drinks
  • At Charlton Lane Hospital, in Cheltenham, we will be raising awareness of malnutrition and dysphagia, with tasting sessions for altered texture diets and nutrition supplements, along with fruit tasting sessions on the wards
  • The Friday fluid challenge will be taking place, encouraging individuals to record the amount of fluids they are consuming and comparing that against recommended guidlines
Michael Banks, who is the Trust Facilities Manager for Hotel Services and National Council Representative for the Hospital Caterers Association(HCA), said: “This is the 4th annual Nutrition and Hydration Week and with each year it has gathered more momentum and interest from different sectors of the organisation.  
“This year will be bigger and better with more events and more teams taking part.  Last year over 2000 care events took place across the world in 17 countries and over 75% of NHS hospitals took part.  The aim of the week – a joint initiative led by the HCA, NHS England and the National Association of Care Caterers (NACC) – is to highlight to patients, visitors and staff how they can improve their quality of life by thinking about what they eat and drink and making a few small changes to their lifestyles.  
“The week is supported by many organisations including the British Association for Paranetel and Enteral Nutrition, the Royal College of Nursing and the British Dietetic Association. 
“The national highlights of the week will be Suppertime Tuesday on the 17th and Worldwide Afternoon Tea day on Wednesday 18th which has a Canadian theme in support of the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management and the challenge is to get the tea party to as many countries as in the World Cup …32!
“We are also using the week to promote not only our catering services and the special dietary needs of our patients but also the many other important services within our Trust – dietetic support, weight management, speech and language services (dysphagia) and occupational therapy services to mention a few because nutritional care is everyone’s business and we all have a role to play in bringing about a reduction in malnutrition-related illnesses.”
Nutrition and Hydration Week was created by two leading professional associations  – the Hospital Caterers Association and National Association of Care Catering. 
The mission of the week is to create a global movement to reinforce and focus energy, activity, and engagement on nutrition and hydration as an important part of quality care, experience, and safety improvement in health and social care settings. 
For more information about the week click here.