Projects exist across the UK to combat malnutrition locally. The Malnutrition Prevention Programme’s five pilot sites are an example of this – local bodies coming together to tackle malnutrition. However, work is also going on elsewhere, and here Joanne Volpe explains an innovative new scheme to tackle malnutrition she is coordinating with local Age UK charities in the Yorkshire and Humberside area.
Since launching ‘Eatwell and Livewell’ in the Summer, we at Age UK Doncaster and Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees have been getting our message out about this new service. And our message is: ‘we are here to support people keep their nutritional intake up and stay well.’
Funded by the Department of Health’s Innovation and Excellence fund, the aim of our service is to get primary care staff and community dieticians to use the support the voluntary sector can offer to bring about change that will help older people eat what they need to stay well.
Following a busy recruitment drive for volunteers, we have enthusiastic people who’ll ‘buddy’ an older person and their carer (see left) and offer practical help like shopping and advice on the type of foods to eat if they’re struggling with a small appetite. Or, they could offer practical cooking tips for people who’ve never cooked for themselves before.
The Malnutrition Taskforce has been a great support, providing great advice and resources for our staff. We’ve held an initial training session for our first tranche of volunteers and we’re starting to see referrals coming in.
At both the local Age UKs, Eatwell and Livewell has become an integral part of the services offered to older people to help them stay independent and well at home.
Next week sees our first meeting with senior staff from Public Health and Clinical Commissioning Groups in the area. These will be key ambassadors for the service and we look forward to learning from them how the Age UKs can integrate into the pathway for older people whose health is deteriorating because they are underweight.
Watch this space as this new initiative unfurls!
For more information about the project, please email me, Joanne Volpe, at Joanne@ageconcernyorkshireandhumber.org.uk.