[S]taff across University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) are being challenged to drink more water as part of a Trust wide health and wellbeing campaign aimed at raising awareness of the health benefits of good nutrition and hydration.
The Trust launched Flourish in March 2016 to raise awareness of the impact that physical and mental health can have on our daily lives – both inside and outside of the workplace – and how small changes can make a huge difference to how we think and feel.
As part of the newly launched hydration challenge, staff are being asked to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day (approximately two litres in total), and submitting the number of litres they’ve drank each week, the aim is to fill the equivalent of 100 paddling pools in just 8 weeks.
Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “We launched the ‘Nourish’ part of our Flourish campaign by pledging to remove high sugar fizzy drinks from sale in our hospitals, and I am really pleased to report that we are well on our way to achieving this.
“The next stage of the campaign is to help people understand why keeping hydrated is so important. We all know we should drink as much water as possible each day to stay healthy but some people may not know why it is so important. Water helps to lubricate our joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps our skin healthy.
“This challenge is all about encouraging staff to make one small change by drinking enough water, and we believe that by doing that, it can help them stay healthy and feel more energised. It is a challenge that I will personally be taking part in and I call upon all our staff to join me and get drinking water!
I want to make it as easy as possible for staff to meet this important goal, we have already reduced the cost of bottled water in our hospitals and we are looking at how we can install more ‘water drinking stations’ for our staff.”
Dr David Walker, Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “This is a really simple yet important part of our Flourish campaign. If we don’t drink enough water, we become dehydrated which can make you lose strength and stamina, and in severe cases, can affect your kidney function and increase the risk of kidney stones. It can also lead to muscle damage and constipation.
“All you have to do to help reduce these risks is to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day, which you can even add sugar free flavourings to if you want to add some variation.”
The hydration challenge comes after UHMBT staff rose to the challenge earlier this year and walked over 65 million steps in just 12 weeks as part of the’ Move More’ phase of the Trust’s Flourish campaign, aimed at encouraging staff to get active. This smashed the target of 50 million steps in 12 weeks – the equivalent of walking around the world once.
Jackie Daniel, concluded: “We know from our step challenge that our staff like a bit of healthy competition so I have no doubt that they will get on board with this challenge.
“We have lots going on as part of the launch of this challenge, including giving away free bottles of water to staff whilst stocks last, a free sports drinks bottle giveaway opportunity, life size hydration displays in each of our main hospitals, and an online weekly tracker of how we are doing against our target. We have also reduced the cost of water in our hospitals’ cafes and restaurants.
“I am excited to see how quickly we can fill our imaginary paddling pools!”
More information on the Trust’s Flourish campaign and updates on how staff are getting on with the hydration challenge can be found on the Trust’s website at: https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/flourish/.
For more information on the benefits of keeping hydrated, visit NHS Choices at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/water-drinks.aspx.