World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018

11/10/2018

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018Western Trust Macmillan Dietitian Ann McSorley has been working in collaboration with Foyle Hospice to highlight the work of catering and dietetics staff in the Western Trust, to support patients and families to identify, treat and prevent malnutrition.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018 takes place on Saturday 13 October 2018.  Ann explains: “As part of World Hospice Week and this year’s theme ‘Because I Matter’ I wish to share the wonderful work of Bill Duncan and Maggie Taylor, who are both chefs at Foyle Hospice.”

“Bill and Maggie have undertaken nutritional training provided by the Western Trust’s Dietetic Team and are committed to making sure that patients are their focus when it comes to providing healthy and nutritious meals.  Catering for loss of appetite requires empathy from care providers.  Think about a time when illness has struck, even something which may seem minor like a stomach bug, when food is not your friend.  Addressing the dietary needs for people living with illness that affects appetite and enjoyment of food is not an easy task.

“At Foyle Hospice, we look at the emotional connection of food and joy it brings to patients even when they are managing troublesome symptoms”, says Maggie, who has worked as a chef at the Day Hospice for 20 years.

Food in Foyle Hospice is prepared with a passion for nutrition along with a strong sense of local traditions. Ingredients are simple, familiar and of a high quality.  Food is more than just nutrition, its communicating love and affection without saying the words.  This is real food so all loved ones can share a meal together.  For Bill and Maggie one of the most satisfying parts of their job seeing families enjoying a moment together over food.

Bill explained: “For a family member, their big concern can be their loved one is not eating enough.  The greatest challenge is reassuring family it’s ok to have a few bites.  We try to build patients trust and confidence by preparing the foods they love, presented in an appetising manner.  We understand what patients are expressing when they are struggling with their appetite.”

Maggie added “It’s not nice, you’re not even hungry and people are making you eat, a few bites can be enough.”

At Foyle Hospice, the chefs share their expertise of foods using plain simple ingredients such as butter and cream to add more nourishment to meals and serve the food on smaller colourful plates. Bill uses a simple technique by adding milk powder to full cream milk which transforms the humble pint of milk into a high protein, high energy product, suitable for patients struggling with their appetites.

Staff are always pleased to hear comments like: “It’s nice to come in here and actually be able to finish what they give me, and not send half of it back. “I didn’t like any of the supplements they tasted too strong, but I love the creamy milk in here, it reminds me of childhood.”

Maintaining food enjoyment is very difficult when you don’t have an appetite.  Maggie understands the value of serving meals in a pleasant environment.  Her dining room is a hive of activity and the attention to detail is evident.  She believes that bringing the fine dining experience to your weekly outing is a highlight - good food makes you feel better!

Ann concluded: “Since I started working in palliative care, doing the simple things well has a huge impact on the people around you.  Having worked in collaboration with Foyle Hospice, I feel inspired and humbled and I hope to add to the high standards in nutritional care already offered here.  During World Hospice Week, which runs from 6 to 13 October 2018, we want to showcase some of the great work in hospices.  “Putting nutrition at the heart of care and support, because patients, along with their families and carers matter.”