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Making March Matter

Training Matters explores two important campaigns which affect millions in the UK, and what pharmacy teams can do to support them this month.

Nutrition and Hydration Week

Every March since 2012, Nutrition and Hydration Week has taken place to educate people on the fundamental value of food and drink for our health and wellbeing. Placing better focus on nutrition and preventing dehydration lessens the amount of people who need the help of health and social care services, reducing the burden on these facilities. “As the public health environment becomes more challenging with even tighter budget constraints coming into place, Nutrition and Hydration Week is one of the most cost-effective health interventions possible,” says the Nutrition and Hydration Week organisation.

It is important to take this week to promote education and awareness of special dietary needs like dietetic support, weight management, speech and language services, occupational therapists and to promote nutritional screening – which is a process whereby people at risk of malnutrition are identified so that a full nutrition assessment and appropriate nutrition intervention can be provided. Nutrition and Hydration Week implores organisations to embrace the week and champion these messages of continued education for professionals on good nutrition and hydration, protected mealtimes and the minimum standards for good nutrition. The week culminates in the Global Tea Party, whereby everyone participating is encouraged to hold tea parties in their organisations as a way to bring people together and initiate nutritional eating at the same time.

Pharmacies can download the handbook which details how organisations can participate in the week and outlines the fundamental values behind the campaign. There are also multiple resources at: like posters, templates and a CPD framework.

World Kidney Day

Did you know that one in 10 people have kidney disease? On Thursday 14 March, World Kidney Day seeks to make the amount of people who answered ‘no’ significantly less. Highlighting the amount of people affected by kidney disease – 3.5 million in the UK – the campaign is steadfastly committed to “helping get kidneys on everyone’s radar”. Many of us don’t know the impact of kidney disease because we don’t know what kidneys do and how we can better look after them – something World Kidney Day also aims to educate people about.

Living with kidney disease often means depending on treatment options like dialysis or waiting for a kidney transplant. Dialysis is extremely time consuming. Depending on which treatment plan a patient is on, one will either need three four-hour sessions per week, multiple daily 30-40 minute sessions or will need to be attached to an automated peritoneal procedure (APD) machine for eight to 10 hours while sleeping. Furthermore, dialysis and waiting for a kidney transplant can have a huge impact on patients’ mental health. Simon, who shared his story with World Kidney Day, said the day he was told he had to start dialysis “was day one of [his] depression”. However, according to World Kidney Day, there are other options. “Recent therapeutic breakthroughs offer unprecedented opportunities to prevent or delay disease and mitigate complications such as kidney failure, ultimately prolonging the quality and quantity of life for people living with CKD [chronic kidney disease].” The problem is, there are multiple inequities which prevent these therapies from being universally accessible. Barriers like lack of awareness, lack of information of new services and treatment costs negatively influence potential treatment opportunities.

There are multiple resources available at: for pharmacy teams to read, download and implement in the pharmacy to help raise awareness for kidney disease and those suffering with it.

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