Peninsula Community Health

Improving Patient Mealtimes

Peninsula Community Health are proud to operate Protected Mealtimes on our Inpatient Wards. 'Care is our main course' at PCH, and we aim to ensure our patients have as pleasant a stay as possible at our hospitals. 

protected mealtimes at PCH

What are Protected Mealtimes?

Protected Mealtimes ensure that all hospital in-patients are able to enjoy uninterrupted mealtimes and receive the level of care and assistance they need to eat and drink in a pleasant environment.  

If you would like to help assist or encourage your loved one to eat and drink during their stay in hospital, we would welcome you to visit them during any of the protected mealtimes. Please speak to one of our nurses who will be very happy to discuss this with you.

Nurses in charge of the shift are responsible for overseeing the meal service and for ensuring that patients who need assistance, or encouragement with eating and drinking are looked after.

During protected mealtimes, patients are kept undisturbed from interruptions such as ward rounds, paperwork, observations and when possible, medication rounds - with the exception of medicines that need to be taken with food.

Protected Mealtimes allow staff to be able to monitor patients food and drink in-take more efficiently and help to give the patient the best opportunity of getting better. 

What Do We Do?

Prior to meal service staff will: 

  • gently wake sleeping patients 20-30 minutes before (if appropriate), to ensure they have had time to adjust before mealtimes.
  • offer patients use of toilet facilities, and a chance to wash their hands.
  • encourage patients to be seated in dining rooms where possible, offering a choice of where they would like to sit.
  • remove clutter from bedside table if patient remains by/in their bed.
  • ensure patients are in good position for eating/drinking.
  • reduce distractions e.g. turn off T.V, radio & encourage socialising.

During the meal service staff will:

  • assist patients to eat/drink and ensure staff are with patients ready to immediately assist with meal.
  • return meals to the hot trolley for any patient who is not ready.
  • serve puddings after main course, not while the patient is still eating.
  • check ALL patients have been given adequate help and encouragement to eat/drink and report any concerns.

We ensure:

  • all members of the ward team make main meal service their priority.
  • only staff helping with meals (or doing medicines) should be allowed in patient areas of ward. Visitors may stay provided they are not distracting patients from eating.
  • we stop all unnecessary activities/interventions during meal service, including where possible unnecessary medication rounds.

Please visit the hospital pages for times of Protected Mealtimes