The National Association of Care Catering is focusing on combatting malnutrition at the Training and Development Forum at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham today.
A workshop hosted by Alison Smith, prescribing support dietitian, NHS and chair of the BDA Older People's Group, revealed that one in three people admitted to a care home, one in 10 people that go in to sheltered housing, and a quarter of patients admitted to hospital are malnourished.
Smith said that malnutrition is costing England £19.6b a year.
She emphasised the importance of MUST - the malnutrition universal screening tool used in a range of healthcare settings. For caterers to measure the MUST of each patient they must record individual BMI and weight loss score (what percentage of weight they have lost in the last three to six months) and add the scores together to equal the patient's risk of malnutrition; then create a management plan to combat it.
The NACC recently released the "how to provide good nutritional care and comply with CQC's fundamental standards" document.
Written on behalf of the NACC by Leistershire County Council and Tricuro with contribution from BAPEN; CQC; NACC ambassadors; NHS England; Welsh region, it focuses on good nutrition and hydration and is aimed at any care service.
Sue Hawkins, catering solutions manager at Tricuro said: "Every service should have a nutritional care policy which goes beyond what happens in the kitchen. It should include care plans, staff training, hydration action plans, catering procedures, meal time procedures and protocols and the service users' involvement and how people are involved in the services you provide."
In a workshop with Hawkins and Ros Speight, head of business support and continuity at Leicestershire County Council attendees said they felt it was important for residents to have their personal choice acknowledged, as well as allergens, dietary requirements and fluid charts recorded. They also said that staff should be aware of hazard procedures, food safety and have access to the correct cooking equipment. Others felt it was important for care staff to sit with the residents, make the dining room accessible and comfortable and menus easy to understand.
Smith said: "We need to be asking the question how many of your residents or clients are currently malnourished and how is the information communicated within your organisation? And what could you do to improve that? It's so important that people's nutritional needs are identified, monitored and managed."
Videos from The Caterer archives