Nurses from The Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust with the Manekin donated by The Nightingale Trust

Nightingale Trust for Nutritional Support

People need nutritional support when they can no longer maintain their nutrition or hydration without additional help. This can occur for many different reasons: following trauma, surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy for example. A variety of neurological conditions such as stroke, Motor Neurone Disease (MND), and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) may also result in the need for nutritional support. Those with inflammatory bowel disease, cerebral palsy or learning disabilities are examples of others who may need help.

Nutritional support can be Enteral (additional feeding through a tube, into the stomach or bowel) or Parenteral¬†(additional feeding directly into a vein, also known as ‘PN’).

PN needs to be set up in a specific way to avoid introducing life-threatening infections into the blood stream.

In many hospitals and community settings there is a shortage of nurses who are trained in caring competently and safely for patients receiving nutritional support, especially PN. This may lead to serious, even life threatening complications, delayed hospital discharges, and unnecessary readmissions. One reason for the lack of appropriately trained nurses is the scarcity of good, accessible, cost-effective courses in this subject.

Aims of the trust

  • To raise money to support education and practical training of healthcare professionals.
  • To help with the prevention, recognition and treatment of malnutrition.
  • To help with the purchase or loan of essential educational equipment.
  • To support research into issues relating to nutritional support.

What do we do?

  • We organise and run a twice-yearly 2-day course on how to look after patients receiving artificial nutrition, which is free for NHS nurses.
  • We sponsor nutrition nurse specialists to attend the Intestinal Failure and Home Parenteral Nutrition¬†course at St Mark’s Hospital.
  • We provide hospitals with textbooks and training manikins.
  • We raise awareness through sponsoring the Pam Harris Lecture, an annual lecture at the National Nurses Nutrition Group (NNNG) conference on new research that improves the lives of people on artificial nutrition.

The task is enormous – please help!