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Malnutrition Pathway Expands its Resource Library

Further to the recent update of the ‘Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community’ guideline document and patient leaflets a number of new materials have been developed to assist healthcare professionals in identifying and treating malnutrition.

“The new materials have been developed in collaboration with experts working with malnourished patients across the UK in response to requests from professionals for resources in these areas,” says Anne Holdoway, Consultant Dietitian and Chair of the Consensus Panel which developed the guide.  “There is some great work going on up and down the country to ensure patients are identified and treated for malnutrition and I would like to thank those who have been involved in the development of these resources for sharing their knowledge with other professionals in order to help raise awareness of malnutrition and encourage best practice across the UK.”

The new resources include a range of fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations for use in educating other professionals and a series of top ten tips for implementing the malnutrition pathway designed for specific professional groups.

Fact sheets

  • Dysphagia – an A4, 8-page, fact sheet compiled by Anita Smith, Consultant/Professional Lead Speech and Language Therapist and Anne Holdoway, Consultant Dietitian. This fact sheet includes information on the clinical consequences, causes and prevalence of dysphagia.  It also includes as tips on managing patients with dysphagia and identifying those who are at risk of malnutrition as well as information on the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework for texture modification.
  • Falls – Every year more than 1 in 3 people over 65 suffer from a fall.1 With nutritional status being an independent predictor of falls in older people in the community2 and improvement in nutritional status having been found to reduce falls risk,3 this fact sheet outlines key actions for implementing nutrition screening and assessment into falls pathways. Compiled by Louise Nash, Frailty Dietitian and Anne Holdoway, Consultant Dietitian.
  • Care Homes – Aimed at the 11,300 care homes looking after around 410,000 residents in the UK4 this fact sheet outlines why older people and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, why is it important for homes to acknowledge the problem of malnutrition and outlines considerations for good nutritional care. This fact sheet has been compiled by Dr Anita Nathan, GP and Member of the GPs Interested in Nutrition Group in conjunction with Anne Holdoway, Consultant Dietitian.

PowerPoint presentations

There are two PowerPoint presentations on the website which have been designed to assist professionals in educating other healthcare professionals on malnutrition and to assist in presenting the financial case for treating malnutrition to reduce healthcare costs:

  • ‘A Guide to Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community’ – this presentation gives an overview of the Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community guidelines. It includes referenced background information on the clinical and financial consequences of malnutrition as well as information on key national guidelines which focus on the identification and treatment of malnutrition.
  • ‘Counting the Cost of Malnutrition and its Management’ – focusing on the huge financial burden (>£23 billion per year) that malnutrition places on health and social care in the UK (with a breakdown for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). This presentation discusses how we might reduce these costs and support NICE guidance through identification and timely management.

Slides can be picked from each presentation to suit information professionals would like to use.

Top Ten Tips series

The Top Ten Tips series has been developed so that guidance on using the malnutrition pathway in practice can be focused according to specific professional groups.  The tip series includes guidance for:

  • Dietitians – including actions they might consider in order to implement the use of the malnutrition pathway in their area and engage stakeholders and community healthcare professionals in the identification and treatment of malnutrition (www.malnutritionpathway.co.uk/tipsheets/tipsheet_dietitian.pdf )
  • GPs – advising on how GPs might incorporate malnutrition screening and treatment into their everyday activities particularly in high risk groups
  • Pharmacists – focusing on time and resource efficient actions that Pharmacists might consider in order to ensure patients with malnutrition are identified and treated. Tips separated into those specific to Community Pharmacists and those for Pharmacists in GP Surgeries.
  • Nurses – looking at integrating nutritional screening and care into current practice and how nurses might engage with other key stakeholders to implement the malnutrition pathway.
  • Care homes – aimed at all professionals working in care homes this tip sheet give advice on identifying and managing malnutrition, including the implementation of care plans and engagement with other care home personnel to create an environment that prevents malnutrition.

The website, also now includes specific sections for dietitians, GPs, nurses, pharmacists, speech and language therapists, patients and carers, and aims to enable professionals, patients and carers to easily access materials that are most relevant to them (www.malnutritionpathway.co.uk/healthcare-index).  A section has also been launched aimed at those working in care homes which includes top ten tips for care homes, the care homes fact sheet and example care plans for those at high, medium and low risk of malnutrition (www.malnutritionpathway.co.uk/carehomes).

Professionals can sign up to the Pathway newsletter which comes out three times a year and includes updates on relevant guidelines, reports, clinical papers and activities relating to disease related malnutrition.  Previous copies of the Pathway can be downloaded here and professionals can sign up to get updates by clicking here.

The ‘Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community’ guide and pathway is being used across the UK and since its launch in June 2012 www.malnutritionpathway.co.uk has been visited by over 85,000 professionals, patients and carers.

All of the resources can be downloaded for free from the website.

References: 1. Age UK. Stop Falling: Start Saving Lives and Money. 2010.; 2. Chien MH and Guo HR. Nutritional status and falls in community-dwelling older people: a longitudinal study of a population-based random sample. PLoS One. 2014. www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pubmed/24614184.; 3. Neyens et al. Malnutrition is associated with an increased risk of falls and impaired activity in elderly patients in Dutch residential long-term care: A cross-sectional study. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2013; 56(1): 265-269.; 4. Care homes market study: summary of final report. 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-homes-market-study-summary-of-final-report/carehomes-market-study-summary-of-final-report.

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