Addressing the nutritional needs of older patients
Wendy-Ling Relph Matron for nutrition and quality improvement, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Wendy-Ling Relph explores how a free online tool can help nurses caring for older people measure the quality of the nutritional care they provide
Malnutrition affects three million people in the UK each year, 10% of whom are aged 65 and older. Chronic malnutrition is associated with well-documented clinical criteria for frailty: unintentional weight loss, weakness, immobility and sarcopenia. Frail, older people who are malnourished visit their GP twice as often as well-nourished equivalents and are three times more likely to be admitted to hospital where, on average, their stay is three days longer. Despite publication of various guidelines and standards, and numerous initiatives aimed at improving nutritional care, there is still much to do if older people who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition are to receive the help and support they need. This article outlines a free online tool launched by the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition that helps staff in NHS and social care settings measure the quality of the nutritional care they provide. It explains how use of the tool by nurses caring for older people can benefit patients. Nurses should take the lead in multidisciplinary teams to measure nutritional care provided to older patients. This will enable identification of good practice and areas for improvement.
Nursing Older People. 28, 3,16-19. doi: 10.7748/nop.28.3.16.s22Correspondence
This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism softwareConflict of interest
Received: 06 August 2015
Accepted: 15 January 2016