Two new specialist nurses – a first for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust – have been appointed to focus on patients’ nutrition.
Hannah Crichton and Charlie Ellis are the Trust’s new nutritional support nurses and are working across Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole hospitals.
Their role is all about ensuring patients are receiving the correct nutritional support while they are inpatients.
Hannah said: “This is a new role for the Trust, although we have both worked at the Trust for a number of years in different areas.”
Hannah, who previously worked in the endoscopy unit at Grimsby, will be looking after patients at the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital. Charlie, who previously worked in the intensive care unit at Scunthorpe, will be caring for people in Scunthorpe and Goole hospitals.
Charlie said: “Making sure our patients are well nourished is essential in their recovery. People who are malnourished lose muscle mass, so it takes longer for them to heal. It is then easier for them to get infections, which results in more time spent in hospital. Good nutrition helps people recover more quickly.”
Hannah said: “Nutrition is also important from an emotional, psychological and wellbeing point of view. It’s a basic need.”
The duo are working closely with ward staff, as well as dietitians, speech and language therapists, and dementia nurses to make sure patients have the correct nutritional input when they are in hospital.
Charlie said: “We see patients with complex feeding needs, including those who are nil by mouth, people with dementia, those requiring enteral or parenteral feeding, cancer patients, people with swallowing difficulties and end of life patients.
“Our role is all about reducing the amount of time people are nil by mouth and making sure they do not become malnourished. Some patients can become very disoriented when they come into hospital, and they lose their appetite or forget to eat.”
Hannah and Charlie are also out and about on the wards helping to educate the staff. Part of this is to make sure patients are weighed in a timely manner when they are admitted to a ward, as well as ensuring height and weight is recorded weekly.
“These simple things are good indicators of malnutrition,” said Hannah.
They also provide a vital link with families, who may already have picked up on nutritional issues their loved one may have.
Charlie added: “It is great that our roles have been developed, however it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure our patients receive sufficient nutrition.”