Research shows that people with dementia and other conditions that cause confusion eat up to 25% more if their meal is served on red or blue plates.
Knowing the positive impact it would have on patients, dieticians at Lincoln County Hospital took part in a sponsored fit-a-thon organised by staff at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and held at Yarborough Leisure Centre.
Stephanie Fry came up with the idea with colleagues Mary Bradbury and Katy McMillan. She said: “The timing was perfect. We had been talking about the blue plates and then we heard about the fit-a-thon and thought it was a great way to make a difference. We have had great fun raising the money together as a team and are looking forward to seeing the difference this is going to make to our patients.
“Research shows more than 40% of patients aged over 65 are malnourished when they come to hospital, which is why we really want to maximise the amount of food they are eating while they are staying with us. We decided to go for blue as it will provide more contrast with the food we serve.”
The team have raised enough money to buy blue plates and bowls for three wards at the hospital that often treat elderly patients and those with dementia.
Mary added: “It is such a simple idea that has the potential to make a huge difference to so many patients. We will also be able to talk to families and carers so they can consider using something similar when the patients return home.”
Staff on Lancaster ward were pleased to be the first to receive the new crockery.
Housekeeper Amanda Clayson said: “It can be a real problem for us trying to get patients to eat. I’m looking forward to seeing all of these healthy appetites.”
Lancaster ward Sister Karin Wistow added: “We are all so grateful for all of their hard work and the effort they put in at the fit-a-thon to raise the money for these blue plates and bowls. We are all really looking forward to using them and seeing the difference this is going to make to so many of our patients.”