Nottinghamshire residents are being asked to help shape new memory menus for hospital patients.
They are being given the chance to put forward their favourite local meals and those from their childhood to be part of the new initiative.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust hopes adding popular nostalgic meals will encourage patients to tuck in and help their recovery as well help older patients with dementia eat well and provide a lift to others being treated in hospital.
Ann-Marie Riley, Deputy Chief Nurse at NUH, said: “We recognise that when people are in hospital their appetite can be affected so we are trying to make sure we have as many tempting options on our menus as possible.
“Making sure patients are well nourished is an important part of their recovery. It also helps them avoid losing any of their mobility and independence which is important in helping them go home sooner.
Ann-Marie said the work formed part of NUH’s #endPJparalysis campaign which aims to encourage and help patients to get dressed and mobile as soon as they are well enough and ready. Inactivity whilst in hospital can lead to deconditioning especially in older patients. In just 24 hours patients could lose 2-5% of their muscle mass. In the over 80s it is said 10 days of bed rest can lead to the equivalent of 10 years of muscle aging.
Chris Neale, Head of Catering at NUH, is responsible for producing the 1,800 meals that the Trust prepares for patients each day using fresh local ingredients.
He is keen to hear what the public want to see on the menu.
Chris said: “It is important that we speak with our service users to make sure we are offering meals that they want to eat, as well as being nutritionally balanced and playing a part in a speedier recovery.
“Obviously I’m hoping that some of the popular dishes are already on our menu, but I’m also keen to see what new additions we can add.”
Raymond Davies, of Lenton, has been a patient at City Hospital for a number of weeks and has been enjoying the food.
He said: “I think it’s good that they’re asking people what they think and what they want. I have to be honest, I’m quite happy with the food that is on there.
“My favourite is already on there – a Sunday roast beef – but I do like the roast pork on a Tuesday.”
Nicola Strawther, Chief Dietetic Technician at NUH, said: “Good nutrition and hydration is a fundamental part of patient care, providing food with the correct nutrients that people will enjoy eating has an important role to play in supporting recovery from illness or surgery.
“Food is medicine but also has a huge impact on our own health and emotional wellbeing.”
To get involved and share your memory menu suggestion and favourite dish email firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media using the hashtag #nuhmemorymenu