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Crohn’s patients to benefit from revolution in hospital food

To coincide with World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day on 19th May, the charity ‘forCrohns’, in conjunction with the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), has announced a new initiative that it hopes will lead to a revolution in the provision of better quality and more suitable food for Crohn’s Disease patients whilst in hospital.

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 its support for the ‘Campaign for Better Hospital Food’ last year, after revealing the findings of a survey showing 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 HCA 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 wellbeing and comfort. The two documents are intended to be used in conjunction with each other and 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.