14 Oct 2019

Lynne Stevenson RD is a member of BDA Scotland Board

This week, 14 – 20 October, has been the 2nd UK National Malnutrition Awareness Week, (#MAW2019) a collaboration with BAPEN and the Malnutrition Task Force, along with support from the British Dietetic Association, raising awareness of malnutrition and dehydration in the UK. It’s been a busy week so far with lots of tweets and messages but what does this mean for Malnutrition in Scotland in 2019?

In 2015 it was estimated that 265,000 people were at risk of malnutrition in Scotland costing £2B in terms of health and social care costs. With the increased burden of disease and an ageing population, this has now risen by 8% for 2019 and is set to continue to increase by over 40% by 2040.

Malnutrition makes people feel tired, weakens their immune system and makes it harder to managing their daily lives, and cope or recover from illness or injury. This means that a malnourished person needs more health care (time in hospital, visits to their GP and antibiotics). This can affect an individual’s quality of life and costs more.

As part of MAW 2019, BAPEN are conducting a National Screening Survey of malnutrition and nutritional care across all health and social care settings. Why not take part and register you data here

So how do we improve the prevention, detection and management of malnutrition? By implementing NICE guidelines for screening and managing malnutrition, patients would be better nourished with reduced health care use and cost savings would be possible. Dietitians along with other health and social care professionals play a pivotal role in the prevention and management of malnutrition using various resources which include:

Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community Pathway - a practical guide and pathway to assist community healthcare professionals in identifying and managing malnutrition in the community. 

The recently launched Falls Pathway joins the suite of resources produced by the Malnutrition Pathway. Written for HCP’s, it calls to action that falls and frailty pathways should be reviewed to ensure they consider nutrition and hydration, the identification and management of malnutrition and indicators of falls risk. 

As the majority (93%) of those living with or at risk of malnutrition live in the community, BAPENhas developed a simple online Malnutrition Self-Screening Tool designed to help individuals and their carers identify their own risk of malnutrition. This web-based Tool is free to use and is designed to help adults living in the community.

The Patients Association Malnutrition Checklist helps patients and staff working in health and social care identify the potential risk of undernutrition in adults. Published in December 2018, the checklist aims to address the rising problems of undernutrition in older people, and could potentially improve the day-to-day lives and experiences of thousands of over-65s across the country. 

Finally, the BDA fact sheet on malnutrition is a practical guide on how to spot the early signs of malnutrition and how to manage it.

So what have you been doing for #MAW2019?

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