The ‘Model Ward’ for Nutrition and Hydration

Joanne Jefford, Dietetic Services Manager, Judyth Jenkins, Dietetic Service Lead, Lee Wyatt, Head of Facilities, Rebecca Aylward, Nurse Director Medicine Clinical Board, Claire Constantinou, Clinical Lead, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

This Bevan Exemplar Project introduced a collaborative, multidisciplinary team approach to maximising nutrition and hydration practises within the inpatient setting.


Food, fluid and nutritional care are crucial for the physical and mental health well-being of patients and are fundamentals of care elements that enhance the patient experience. Poor nutrition has significant financial implications for healthcare and good nutritional care supports improved outcomes, reduction in complications and length of stay, improved quality of life and Health Board resource utilisation. However all too often, a patient’s nutritional status can deteriorate during their hospital stay either as a cause or consequence of disease.

The Model Ward seeks to ensure all patients can access and receive the best possible nutrition and hydration outside the rigid confines of set meal times, exceeding Governmental standards and making this the baseline core care model in the ward environment; appropriate skill mix and a cohesive shared approach to managing nutrition at ward level. A model that is sustainable and easily applicable to other organisations based on the premise that good nutrition and hydration provision are markers of patient safety, quality care and reputational management as identified by staff, patients and relatives in the 3 key external reports Francis, Berwick and Andrews.

The model ward has been made possible by the support of Cardiff and Vale Health Charity.


To bring Nursing, Therapy, Facilities and Patient-experience teams together within the health board to examine how best to deliver standardised nutritional care to maximise patient outcomes.

Utilising inter-professional integrated working and challenging the traditional boundaries of care, the project aimed to deliver comprehensive and coordinated nutritional care, whilst simultaneously improving patient outcomes and experience.


Four medical wards became ‘Model Wards’ focusing on greater opportunities for patients to eat and drink.

An additional band 2 catering host and a band 3 dietetic support worker (DSW) were recruited. The DSW supported feeding, performed nutrition risk screening and undertook milkshake and fresh fruit rounds to increase patients’ energy, protein, fluid and fibre intake.

Menu changes included cooked breakfast daily and snacks with the afternoon tea round to increase nutrition available.

Blue coloured crockery was introduced aiding patients with visual/cognitive impairment maximise oral intake.

Protected mealtimes were revitalised including greater focus on pre-meal patient hand hygiene.

The additional catering host enabled increased drinks rounds through the day. Discussion of nutrition risk, therapeutic, cultural and religious dietary needs, and nutritional concerns were added to ward based patient safety briefings.

Next steps

Outcomes indicate re-modelling nutritional care at ward level, and supporting the patient with dietary intake can result in improved quality care and benefits including reduction of risk and harm for patients.

“The Bevan experience brought health care professionals from very different backgrounds and services together demonstrating that we all have a similar journey achieving service change and can share our learning.”