A daily snack trolley has been introduced for critical care patients in Walsall to help build up their strength and aid their recovery in a joint ICU rehabilitation, dietitian and speech and language initiative at the Manor Hospital.
The trolley contains milkshakes, rice puddings, custard, Fortisips, biscuits, Quavers and cakes – a mixture of foods that are easy to chew and swallow.
Xana Marriott, Senior Sister for Critical Care Rehabilitation with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are always looking at ways we can enhance our patients’ experience while also helping their recovery.
“We work closely with all members of the multidisciplinary team, this includes dietitians and Speech and Language Therapists. We came up with the idea of introducing a snack trolley in critical care. We wanted to make it look appetising and “non-medical” to tempt patients into upping their calorie and protein intake and also build confidence in swallowing if they’ve been struggling. It has been popular so far and we have had a positive reaction from patients and their families.”
Cat Gallimore, Head of Dietetics and Critical Care Dietitian, said: “We work closely with the rehabilitation team to support patients with their nutritional needs both while they are extremely unwell and at different points in their recovery journey.
“The milkshakes are delicious and we’re offering the sort of snacks people would help themselves to at home. Nutrition is a huge part of patients’ recovery as it affects so many other things such as muscle strength, infection risk and energy levels. Appetite can suffer after a period of being so ill so we’re trying to introduce some tasty snacks which will help increase their calorie intake and build up their strength.”
Respiratory patient Peter Steer, aged 70, has been one of the first patients to use the snack trolley which visits the unit daily between 2pm and 3pm.
The retired forklift driver, of Chuckery, said: “It’s a nice idea – I’ve helped myself to some Quavers.
“But it also lifts your spirits to see the smiling faces of the staff who bring the trolley round!”