Healthcare Traffic Light System

Good hydration and nutrition are crucial for patient recovery in hospitals and the well-being of care home residents. Systems that allow the catering teams to quickly and easily identify those patients or residents who need help are proving increasingly popular.

‘The traffic light system’ is one of these well known practices that are applied in hospitals and care homes to effectively communicate the level of assistance needed by patients / residents while they eating and drinking. It can also help the staff to monitor fluid consumption.

This particular practice is inconspicuous, helping to reduce stigma and potential discomfort for some diners. Having dining with dignity alongside of patient’s well-being at heart, this system has been mentioned in last year’s Report of the Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food as an example of great practice in hospitals:

‘We saw one hospital using a ‘traffic light’ tray system to help staff identify patients who need additional help at mealtimes. Everyone gets a coloured tray (which reduces stigma), with patients needing no help getting green trays, patients needing a little help getting yellow trays, and patients needing a lot of help getting red trays.’

This system uses colour coded tableware such as trays, plates, jugs, lids etc. to indicate to nursing staff, which patient/diner may need additional support during dining times. Trays are the primary catering equipment used by this system because they are a clear and easy indicator for staff while serving meals in hospitals and care homes.

It is known that the use of different colours such as red or blue can provide additional benefits to patients with conditions such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Various studies show that bright, strong colours can encourage eating and drinking that adds to the welfare of the patient by reducing potential malnutrition.

Harfield provide an extensive range of trays in different colours, patterns and sizes that are perfect for the traffic light system. Our jugs, lids and beakers, including graduated options will help effectively monitor fluid intake and keep patients hydrated. Please contact us for further information or advice on choosing the right catering equipment for your establishment.