What is the Malnutrition Prevention Programme?
Overseen by the Malnutrition Task Force, the Malnutrition Prevention Programme is a Department of Health funded scheme to help the 1 million older people in England who are suffering from or are at risk of malnutrition.
The Programme sees whole communities – including local NHS trusts, hospitals, GP practices, care homes and community groups – coming together to tackle malnutrition. The aim is to significantly reduce the number of people aged 65 and over in these areas who are malnourished.
This whole community approach is currently being piloted in five different areas across England, with the learning and results from these to be disseminated nationally. The pilot areas are Gateshead, Salford, Purbeck in Dorset, Kent and Lambeth and Southwark – click on the area names to find out more about them.
The Programme is part of the Government’s response to the Francis Report into the failings at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust (see ‘Recommendation 241‘ on the Department of Health website). The report revealed that patients, many of them older, had been unable to eat or drink properly and that nutrition was not treated as a priority (click on PDF ‘Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, Volume 3‘ and scroll down to p. 1600).
The Programme is based on five principles, identified by the Malnutrition Task Force, that are key to providing good nutrition and hydration care:
- 1. Raise awareness of malnutrition
- 2. Work together
- 3. Identify older people who are malnourished or at risk
- 4. Provide support, care and treatment and monitor progress;
- 5. Monitor and evaluate your activities
Guides on tackling malnutrition
As part of the Programme, the Task Force has drawn up a series of guides to help professionals in local communities, as well as hospitals, care homes and elsewhere, make the changes needed to tackle malnutrition.