A number of resources are available which provide dietary advice for older people. 5 6

A summary of nutritional guidance for older people in care, published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) in 2009, is presented in Box 3.

In order to estimate the numbers of people at risk of undernutrition, to help target interventions, the ‘malnutrition screening tool’ (MUST) can be completed within a representative cross-section of older people in the community. See Box 4 for further details.

Box 3: Nutritional care and older people guidelines (SCIE) 7

Good nutritional care for older people is founded on:

  • dignity in care – respect for people receiving care, ensuring that meals are appetising and appropriate
  • screening – nutritional screening on admission to health and social care services, and improving food intake where necessary should be a key part of assessment and care planning
  • prioritising mealtimes – ensuring that mealtimes are respected and not interrupted by other routine activities, sufficient staff are allocated and the environment is conducive to eating
  • training – staff should receive training to ensure that they have a nutritional knowledge base appropriate to their role; the training should also equip those working with older people with the skills to communicate with people that have dementia and communication difficulties
  • accountability – ensuring everyone takes responsibility for good nutritional care from assessor to commissioner to frontline worker
  • information and support for people using services and carers – awareness of nutrition may, for many reasons, be low in older people and their carers.

Box 4: Malnutrition screening tool 8

MUST is a five step tool to identify adults who are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. The steps are as follows.

Step 1 – calculate BMI and create a score

Step 2 – calculate any unplanned weight loss and create a score

Step 3 – establish disease affect and create a score

Step 4 – add scores from step 1, 2 and 3 to obtain overall risk

Step 5 – use management guidelines to develop a care plan or local policy

 

References

  1. Caroline Walker Trust, “Eating well for Older People,” 2011.
  2. Age UK, “Healthy eating. Your guide to eating well,” Age International, 2015.

  3. Social Care Institute for Excellence, “At a glance 3: Nutritional care and older people,” 2009. [Online]. Available: http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/ataglance/ataglance03.asp. [Accessed 10 October 2016].
  4. BAPEN, “MUST screening tool,” 2011. [Online]. Available: http://www.bapen.org.uk/pdfs/must/must_full.pdf. [Accessed 10 October 2016].
  5. Caroline Walker Trust, “Eating well for Older People,” 2011.
  6. Age UK, “Healthy eating. Your guide to eating well,” Age International, 2015.

  7. Social Care Institute for Excellence, “At a glance 3: Nutritional care and older people,” 2009. [Online]. Available: http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/ataglance/ataglance03.asp. [Accessed 10 October 2016].
  8. BAPEN, “MUST screening tool,” 2011. [Online]. Available: http://www.bapen.org.uk/pdfs/must/must_full.pdf. [Accessed 10 October 2016].