Tracking and Treating Malnutrition #malnutritionmatters

Michelle Dewar, a Research Dietitian at Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) is part of the eighth CLAHRC East of England Fellowship cohort. Michelle’s research is adding to the evidence base and raising awareness about the prevalence of malnutrition, which currently affects approximately 1 in 10 older adults and costs the UK £19.6 billion every year.

Nationally Meals On Wheels services are in decline, however, little is known about how they support the health and wellbeing of older people in the UK. HILS’ nutrition and wellbeing service actively targets people at risk of malnutrition, who might not otherwise be identified.

This retrospective study examined the characteristics of the people who receive meals on wheels:

  • The majority of people live alone, the mean age is 83 years and most people were women (2/3)
  • Almost ½ people had a fall in the last 6 months and 61% regularly use a mobility aid
  • 44% drank less fluid than recommended, urine infections and bladder or bowel issues were common
  • 44% were at medium or high risk of malnutrition and ¾ were frail

And also examined the effectiveness in treating malnutrition:

  • Over 90% of clients remained stable or improved their malnutrition risk whilst receiving support from HILS
  • Nearly ¾ of clients were at low risk of malnutrition at their most recent review visit (an improvement from 57% at initial review).

Michelle’s research poster recently won two awards at a Public Health England, East of England Conference and will be presented at the annual CLAHRC East of England Fellows Showcase event.

For further details of the research and findings please download a copy of the poster here.

The CLAHRC East of England fellowship programme is aimed at clinicians, health and social care practitioners, and managers, who would like to work at the interface of research and practice, to develop an understanding of the research environment, and to develop skills in research methodology, service redesign and change management.





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