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Innovative patient water jugs developed with patients and for patients

12% saving on water jugs

Water jugs also offer a saving of 12%

Monday 16 March 2015

Nutrition and Hydration week takes place this week (March 16-22, 2015). Part of its mission is to reinforce and focus energy, activity and engagement on nutrition and hydration as an important part of quality care, patient experience and safety improvement in health and social care settings. 

Good hydration is essential to maximise a patient's chance of recovery. The appearance of water and how easy it is for a patient to help themselves, directly impacts on their hydration levels.”

Caroline Lecko RGN, Patient Safety Lead at NHS England

We all know the importance of good hydration during a stay in hospital, however this is not always something that’s as easy to do as it should be. The traditional NHS patient water jugs had been a problem for some time. Cumbersome and heavy when full of water, they made it difficult for the very young, or the elderly to use. The lids were not securely attached and often fell off, spilling water. They were also difficult to clean, not going through thermal dishwashers. When cleaned they would crack and cloud making the jugs look unattractive and the water unappetising for patients.

In early 2013 we worked together with Alliance Ltd to develop a new jug. After close consultation with patients, Caroline Lecko Patient Safety Lead at NHS England, and Andy Jones, Chair of HCA, the new jug was brought to market in April 2014.

The new jugs are different in several ways to the old ones. They are smaller so will be replenished more often, and when full they are lighter for patients to lift and pour themselves. The material the jugs are made from is durable and easy to clean. It goes through thermal dishwashers and does not cloud or scratch. The lids fit well and do not fall off or break and will be available in all colours currently available, however red will be transferred to orange as red is associated with hot or danger.

The jug itself is tinted blue which gives the impression of fresher, cleaner and colder water – more appetising for patients. It is tilted, making pouring easier and there are graduations on the handle making it easy to use for both left and right-handed patients. The graduations also act as a measure should patients’ fluid intake be being measured.

Two tumblers were also developed from the same material as the jugs; one item of feedback was that often patients were given thin plastic disposable glasses which are easily crushed, dropped or breakable by patients with low dexterity. This was also a point that was brought up in the Francis report (Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry)* where patients were unable to pick up and hold flimsy plastic glasses without crushing them and spilling water. These tumblers come in two sizes, a hi-ball and a short tumbler – similar sizes and shapes that patients are likely to have in their own homes – this was part of making patients feel comfortable.

These new jugs tie into the recommendations made in the Francis report ** especially that ‘Food and drink should, where possible, be delivered to patients in containers and with utensils which enable them to feed themselves, taking account of any physical incapacity.’ These redesigned jugs make it much easier for patients to help themselves to a drink of water when they need it.

The new jugs are also showing a cost saving of 12%*** vs. the old jugs – which, combined with their durability, means real savings to the NHS whilst also supporting patient care.

"The jug has been designed with the end user at the fore-front of mind. It's a refreshing approach." 

Andy Jones, Chair of the Hospital Caterers Association

 

"The ambition that we had through the redesign of jug and tumblers was that this was a key part of improving and reducing dehydration in hospitals. During the trial process consultation with clinicians and patients showed that they felt patients drank more as a result of using the new jugs as not only was it easier, but it looked more appetising." 

Caroline Lecko, Chair of the Hospital Caterers Association

 If you are interesting in finding out more about how to order a water jug please contact your account manager. You can also contact Samantha Lee, a Senior Buyer at NHS Supply Chain on samantha.lee@supplychain.nhs.uk.


*… the glasses on the ward, they were flimsy, they were the plastic glasses. And mum’s eyesight was really, really bad, and anybody with bad eyesight can’t pick the jug up and see where they’re pouring into they—by the time you’ve picked that glass up you’ve crushed it, you know, its collapsed in your hand Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry Volume 3, Chapter 25, Page 1601. Common culture applied: the care of the elderly.

** Food and drink should, where possible, be delivered to patients in containers and with utensils which enable them to feed themselves, taking account of any physical incapacity. Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry Volume 3, Chapter 25, Page 1602. Common culture applied: the care of the elderly.

*** 12% saving calculated using an average weighted price of the old jugs and using 48 weeks actuals and pro rata to 52 weeks.

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