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Publication Date: 12/03/2009 

New protected meal time policy 

Patients' recovery will benefit from new guidelines 

Protected Mealtimes 

Carmen McKelvie was one of the first patients to benefit. 

PATIENTS’ recovery in NHS Lanarkshire hospitals will benefit from a new protected meals policy.

The new guideline, introduced in February, means wards will be effectively closed to visitors and visiting staff during meal times.

This will mean focussed attention can be given to ensuring patients can have their meals in a calm and supportive environment.

It also allows extra help to be given to those patients who need it.

Isabel Lindsay, from Carluke, is NHS Lanarkshire’s nutrition champion.
She said: “With all non-essential activities stopping nurses, catering staff and volunteers will be able to help serve the food and give assistance to patients who may need help.
“This will prevent unnecessary interruptions to mealtimes.
“The protected meal time scheme creates a more relaxed and calm atmosphere giving patients time to socialise and digest their food.
“It will ensure eating and drinking properly is a key priority for staff in patients’ care and treatment.”

Eating and drinking well is vital to a patient’s recovery.

Meal times in hospitals are therefore part of the treatment regime for patients in the same way drugs or surgery may be.

Isabel added: “The protected meal times is the latest of the improvements to be put in place by NHS Lanarkshire to ensure patients receive the right level of nutrition and hydration as part of their treatment programme.”

Carmen McKelvie was one of the first patients to benefit from the NHS Lanarkshire protected meal time policy.

The 37-year-old required surgery at Wishaw General after breaking her leg on a night out.

Carmen’s shattered bone was expertly re-set by the surgical team before her rehabilitation began under the supervision of the professional nursing and physiotherapy staff in ward 15.

Like most patients, however, her recovery was dependent not only on this first class care provided by the medical team, but also on her eating well to regain her strength.

After enjoying a meal free of distractions Carmen, from Ardrossan, said: “It’s a great idea. Hospital wards are such busy places there is always something going on.
“If you’re not feeling well it doesn’t take much to distract you from your food which can make a big difference to your recovery.
“The nurses told me that when you break a bone it’s vital to eat well to regain your strength and take on enough calcium.
“It definitely helps to be able to eat your meal in peace without being distracted.”