The Patients Association has launched a report on research it has been carrying out with health and social care professionals and patients to ascertain the need for tools to help in the identification and self-identification of people who are malnourished or in need of nutritional advice.
Further to the launch of the NHS England guidance on 'Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration' in 2015 the Patients Association carried out a review of policy, practice and patient views in relation to nutrition, malnutrition and the hospital discharge process and established a set of recommendations to help reduce the incidence of malnutrition. This paper identified a gap between policy and practice and the need to raise awareness of the issues with both professionals, patients and relatives. One of the paper's key findings was that whilst nutrition is integral to health and well-being there is a need for a more integrated approach which is seamless, patient centred and well communicated.
As a result of the report the Patients Association has been working with a number of professionals and patients to look at potential tools to help the identification (or self-identification) of people who are under- nourished or in need of nutritional advice and to guide them to the appropriate sources of help. This work identified that there is scope for a checklist which can be used in many settings to help encourage conversations about weight and nutrition and lead people towards established tools and guidance such as the patient resources on the www.malnutritionpathway.co.uk website.
A draft checklist is currently being piloted.
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