Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has recently rolled out new menus for all patients receiving end of life care.
Displayed on the top of the menu is a pink butterfly, which is a Trust-recognised symbol to show that a patient is nearing the end of their life.
To bring these patients some additional comfort and support, the Trust, in partnership with Facilities Management and Catering team Serco, are offering them food from the new menus outside of usual eating hours, so that patients can order food any time between 7am to 7pm.
Ice cream, jelly, soup and mashed potato are among the foods on the menus.
Andrea Plum, Senior Sister for Mercury ward, said: “During the pilot in June on Mercury Ward, families fed back that they felt grateful that additional support was being given to their loved ones, and that it brought pleasure in knowing that their loved ones could enjoy some final bites of their favourite foods.”
In light of the positive response, the Trust has rolled out the menus to all wards, for patients receiving end of life care.
“The trial was successful in bringing some pleasure to patients and their families in the final days of their life,” said Maxine Buyanga, Matron for Intensive Care Unit and lead for Nutrition and Hydration.
“We know patients who are at the end of their life might not always have the appetite to eat at the standard hospital mealtimes, therefore having the opportunity to order something to eat outside of the specified mealtimes will be a positive experience.
“We are grateful to Serco for supporting us with this new approach, and hope that patients will continue to enjoy the foods that they love. We know that food and drink are so important in maintaining wellbeing and providing positive experience, and I am so proud of the teams who are going the extra mile to provide the best patient care for all patients.”
Helen Brown is an end of life clinical nurse specialist. She said: “Sometimes, something as simple as vanilla ice cream can really help to comfort a patient who is nearing the end of their life, and it can make the process that bit more calming for them.
“For some, the physical act of eating can become very difficult, and hard to chew foods are just not appropriate. We have catered for this by offering wet, soft foods that do not require chewing but will still give patients that sweet taste.”