CaptureforCrohns charity & Hospital Caterers’ Association launch dietary guidance and menu ideas to improve hospital food for Crohn’s patients to mark World IBD Day

19th May 2014

 To coincide with World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day on 19th May 2014, the charity “forCrohns”, in conjunction with the Hospital Caterer’s Association (HCA), is proud to announce a new initiative that will lead to a revolution in the provision of better quality and more suitable food for Crohn’s Disease patients whilst in hospital. Click here to download the guide.

IBD is an umbrella term used to describe two diseases which cause ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract; Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.  Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation and ulceration throughout the gastrointestinal system and symptoms include severe stomach pains and chronic diarrhoea. One in 1,000 people have Crohn’s in the UK and about three-quarters of people with Crohn’s will need bowel resection surgery at some point in their lifetime.

forCrohns pledged their support for the “Campaign for Better Hospital Food” last year, after revealing the findings of a survey that 46% of those hospitalised in the UK for Crohn’s Disease believed their recoveries were either delayed or restricted, because they were served  poor quality food during their stay. The survey also found that many patients complain about a lack of suitable choice for patients with Crohn’s – for example spicy and high fibre foods can irritate the bowel and that there is a poor understanding by catering staff of patients’ dietary requirements.

Since these revelations, representatives of the forCrohns charity have worked hand in hand with the Hospital Caterers’ Association to produce a best practice guide for caterers and those involved in patient feeding services to outline the specific nutritional requirements of patients suffering from IBD and to provide a range of suitable recipes.

The “Guide to Crohn’s Disease” includes information on the condition, which foods should be avoided due to the nature of the condition, recommended portion sizes and specific diets and supplements for Crohn’s Disease patients. The “Menu Ideas for Crohn’s Patients”  provides a list of meals which gives hospital caterers a framework for a menu offer that meets the needs of the patient and focuses on their well-being and comfort. The two documents are intended to be used in conjunction with each other and also advises caterers to liaise with their NHS Trust dietician and other members of the gastroenterology team to make sure they provide menu choices in line with the patient’s current treatment.

The documents will be issued by the HCA early next month to all HCA members, the British Dietetic Association (BDA), all NHS Trusts and their food suppliers, other relevant associations, government groups and contractors. In the past the HCA has issued best practice guidance and seen improvements, but this is the first time they have focussed on a specific medical condition.

forCrohns committee member and Crohn’s sufferer Sally Kellett, aged 30, revealed, “We passionately believe that hospital food needs to be improved to help patients recover and more importantly, more education and communication between medical staff and catering teams is required to ensure the food we are offered, does not risk delaying our recovery. It has been a privilege to be the first charity to work in partnership with the HCA and we hope we can make a difference.”

Andy Jones, Chariman of the Hospital Caterer’s Association added, “It is essential that patient groups work with us at the HCA to ensure we give them the high standards they expect. Whilst we were concerned by the findings of forCrohn’s survey last year, it presented us an opportunity to work together to ensure that the HCA can provide vital information and guidance to its members to ensure we can make improvements on a wider basis in order to meet the needs of Crohn’s Disease sufferers when they are in hospital. I’d also like to thank the BDA Food Counts Group for their assistance and advice that they provided.”

The HCA and forCrohns will review performance over the next 12 months and look forward to seeing an improvement in Crohn’s patients feedback over this period.