Patients' nutrition levels are not being assessed adequately - HIQA

The health watchdog released new reports into care at Tallaght, Limerick and Beaumont Hospitals

Patients' nutrition levels are not being assessed adequately - HIQA

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Health watchdog HIQA is reporting that some hospitals are not adequately assessing patient's nutrition levels. 

Ad hoc systems are implemented when it comes to ensuring patients are properly nourished and hydrated, the reports find. 

Concern has also been raised about communication with patients on their food requirements during their time under medical care. 

An unannounced inspection in Tallaght Hospital was carried in August this year. Inspectors found that patients on these wards were not always screened for their risk of malnutrition on admission, nor were they re-screened weekly.

Patients offered mixed views on the quality of meals. In addition, a small number of patients reported that they had not always received what they had ordered.

During an unannounced inspection at Beaumount Hospital, it was found that patients were routinely screened for the risk of malnutrition on admission on some of the wards. However, inspectors found that screening was not always carried out for patients in a timely manner.

Most patients were positive about the meals offered, other patients offered mixed views on the meals. A small number of patients reported that they had not always received what they had ordered.

Findings from their inspection at University Hospital Limerick show that the hospital routinely screened patients on all wards for their risk of malnutrition within 24 hours of admission to hospital. However, weekly re-screening was not always carried out. 

While the majority of patients spoken with by inspectors were complimentary about the choice, taste and temperature of food and drinks available in the hospital, some patients told inspectors that meal times, especially the evening meal, was too early.

Results also show that not all patients who required assistance were offered it in a prompt manner and there was no system in place to alert catering staff as to which patients needed assistance with meals.