As part of Nutrition and Hydration Week 2015, which took place last month, carers have been reminded about the importance of serving a light snack before bedtime.

With caterers in health and social care facing many challenges, it is feared that suppertime may be overlooked, particularly when the lead caterers have often left for the day.

The importance of the last snack of the day was the focus of a special initiative during Nutrition and Hydration Week, urging cooks and carers to remember it is an important part of the nutritional care they provide.

Nutrition and Hydration Week lead, Caroline Lecko, said: “We need to engage all staff to realise that those they care for need this light snack, otherwise it could be over 12 hours between their evening meals and breakfast. This is far too long to go without something to eat.”

Andy Jones, national chair of the Hospital Caterers Association, added: “With many staff rosters focusing on breakfast service, we need to remind all those involved just how vital this snack is. It also gives us the opportunity to share good suppertime practices.

“What better than with that night-time drink – a snack whether it be toastor cheese and biscuits or perhaps even a small chocolate biscuit.”

The aim of Nutrition and Hydration Week is to raise the awareness of the importance of good nutrition in health and social care and to illustrate how, by making changes to eating and drinking habits people can improve their quality of life. The campaign benefits professionals and staff within social and healthcare settings by showing them the preventative role they can play in catalysing a reduction in malnutrition-related illnesses that often require complex treatments, prolong recovery periods, delay hospital discharges and increase NHS costs.

Derek Johnson, Nutrition and Hydration Week co-lead, added: “Supper is a great time to provide a milk-based drink providing vital hydration and extra calories for those who are nutritionally compromised.

“It is the forgotten snack where food is often prepared earlier in the day and left for busy care staff to serve during their evening duties”