Focus on Dementia
Hospital malnutrition remains a problem for the elderly, who occupy two in three beds. Up to a quarter of hospital beds are already occupied by a patient with dementia, according to a report by the Alzheimer’s society.
A 2006 study by Age Concern found that six in ten older patients were at risk of becoming malnourished in hospital. Since then we believe we have moved forward with an element of success but there is still work to be done.
We have championed the blue plate, blue rim concept following requests and advice from various NHS Boards in Scotland and NHS Trusts elsewhere in the UK.
Experts believe standard white crockery dulls the appetite of ill people because so many foods such as chicken, pasta, mash, chips or pork are beige. Food fails to stand out from the plate and in turn, looks far less tempting.
Subtle blue lighting is used extensively in the supermarket to enhance the colour of fresh meat, fish and vegetable displays. This applies to food on a plate where the blue rim has been designed to bring out the best in food colour, especially for blander items such as creamed potato, cauliflower, fish and rice dishes. Our own tests have shown this to be true.
According to a recent publication food served against a blue background resulted in elderly and weak patients eating nearly a third more food. Average consumption increased from 114g to 152g with blue crockery when tested on hospital wards.