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Afternoon tea highlights importance of nutrition for people with dementia

Nurses have been urged to get behind a new initiative that aims to raise awareness of the importance of proper nutrition for people with dementia.
Leith_Jones_Clarke-PA.jpg

Nurses have been urged to get behind a new initiative that aims to raise awareness of the importance of proper nutrition for people with dementia

Pru Leith, Terry Jones and Jane Clarke. Picture: PA News

A Very Nice Tea was held at Royal Hospital Chelsea on 14 February and is intended to be the first of many to be organised around the UK every year.

All of the items on the menu were prepared using ingredients chosen to be tempting and easy to swallow for people with dry or sore mouths.

Nutritionist Jane Clarke, who worked with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver on his healthy school meals campaign, organised the event through her new organisation Nourish.

Alternative ways

Also attending the event was Monty Python star Terry Jones, who last year announced he has primary progressive aphasia, a form of dementia.

Nurses have been urged to get behind a new initiative that aims to raise awareness of the importance of proper nutrition for people with dementia


Pru Leith, Terry Jones and Jane Clarke. Picture: PA News

A Very Nice Tea was held at Royal Hospital Chelsea on 14 February and is intended to be the first of many to be organised around the UK every year.

All of the items on the menu were prepared using ingredients chosen to be tempting and easy to swallow for people with dry or sore mouths. 

Nutritionist Jane Clarke, who worked with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver on his healthy school meals campaign, organised the event through her new organisation Nourish.

Alternative ways 

Also attending the event was Monty Python star Terry Jones, who last year announced he has primary progressive aphasia, a form of dementia.

Ms Clarke, whose father has dementia, said: ‘I wanted to highlight the difficulties people have with food and these struggles create a barrier which prevents not only nourishment but social interaction.

‘When I was training I was told if people struggled to eat, you should bung the food in a blender and liquidise it.

‘I wanted to show there are alternative ways to ensure they get the nutrition they need.’

Fed better, heal faster

Cookery writer Prue Leith, who is tipped to become a judge on the Great British Bake Off, also attended the event as Nourish’s patron.

She said: ‘I’ve spent my life trying to help people eat better, especially in hospital, where there’s no point providing food if it looks so disgusting it goes straight in the bin.

‘Those in charge of the NHS have got to realise that if people are fed better, they heal faster.’

The event raised funds for Dementia UK’s Admiral nurses. Dementia UK’s admiral chief nurse Hilda Hayo hopes the events become as popular as the annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer nurses.

Raising awareness

She said: ‘Sadly nurses still tend to see feeding patients as nothing more than a task that needs to be completed quickly.

‘Hopefully events like these raise awareness of the vital importance of checking people are getting the nutrition they need and are enjoying their food.’

Visit Nourish’s website for full details of recipes and how to host your own event.


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