Monday 10th September 2012
Macmillan Dietitian Lynne Cairns finds nutritional smoothies offer a tasty alternative to food supplements
Conventional food supplements are often not well-tolerated among people on the haematology/oncology ward. We wanted to improve the experience patients had during their stay by providing a range of nutritious smoothies.
People on the haematology/oncology ward may be admitted with severe symptomsof treatment, such as neutropenia, nausea and vomiting, mucositis, diarrhoea or altered taste. Because of this, they’re at high risk of malnutrition and nourishing drinks are a way of reducing this risk.
Development and implementation
We held an initial meeting between the dietitians, the ward sister and the ward housekeeper to discuss how to take the project forward.We then met with the hospital catering team to discuss how to source ingredients.
It was decided that the ward would keep a small supply of long-life ingredients for items which we couldn’t get from the kitchen each day. Catering would charge the ward directly for any extra items.
The food safety department gave us training and advice on preparation. The ward housekeeper would do the majority of preparation; however any staff who had completed the food safety module of annual training would be sufficiently trained to make the smoothies.
The plans were discussed with the microbiology consultant to ensure that the safety of neutropenic patients was taken into account. We also took advice from the purchasing department and infection control to ensure the blender met relevant standards. The blender was funded through the ward trust fund.
Evaluation and feedback
A variety of smoothies were taste-tested by patients. We decided to try a high-calorie fruit smoothie, a fizzy tangy smoothie for those with poor taste, and a high-calorie mocha smoothie for those who dislike fruit.
Patients were asked to provide feedback on taste, texture, smell and overall acceptability of the trial smoothies, as well as a supplement drink.Patients rated the four different smoothies from 3–4.5 out of five, and when asked, most said they would prefer the smoothie on a daily basis. They were alsorated on how easily they could be made by staff.
The calorie content of the smoothies ranged from 120kcal per 200ml glass for the citrus fizz, to 260kcal for the fruit yoghurt smoothie, and 360kcal for a ‘build-up’ smoothie.
Once the recipes were finalised, menus were given to patients and the smoothies were made available throughout the day.
The smoothies have been very well-received by most of the patients on the ward, with most having at least one glass per day. Some patients may have three or four glasses per day if they are unable to eat much. Comments include: ‘Very very nice’ and ‘I would prefer a smoothie to a supplement any day’.
Smoothie recipe - Bubbly build up
- 1 sachet build-up shake (chocolate, vanilla, banana or strawberry)
- Banana Vanilla ice cream
- Fruit (choose from peaches, strawberries, mango, pineapple)
Nutrition Information (per 200ml glass)
- 360 calories
- 7g protein
- 28g carbohydrate
Further information Email Lynne Cairns
We have more recipes for people affected by cancer.