Preventing malnutrition in later life

Commissioning Guidance on Nutrition and Hydration

Woman_Garden_002NHS England have launched new guidance for commissioners on commissioning for the nutrition and hydration needs of their population and delivering excellent nutrition and hydration care in health care settings and the community.

The aim of the guidance is to support commissioners to address these issues and develop strategies to improve local services. The Malnutrition Task Force has been taking a lead role in supporting the rollout and dissemination of the guidance.

Malnutrition and dehydration are both causes and consequences of illness, have significant impacts on health outcomes and should be integral to all care pathways. But as recent reports have shown, this isn’t always the case, with the likes of the Francis Report and a recent report from the LSE highlighting that patients in community and healthcare settings often receive inadequate nutrition and hydration.

Through the guidance, NHS England’s vision is to ensure:

All people will receive safe and high quality nutrition and hydration support when required, through the commissioning of person-centred and clinically effective integrated services in the community and in health care commissioned settings.”

The guidance outlines:

  1. Why commissioners should make nutrition and hydration a priority
  2. How to tackle the problem
  3. How to assess the impact of commissioned services
  4. How commissioners have begun to tackle the problem via commissioning
  5. Further resources to help commissioners address the issue

Click here to read ‘Guidance – Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration 2015-18


There are a number of presentations that have been produced in conjunction with the guidance. Please feel free to use them.

  1. General overview of commissioning guidance Aimed at commissioners summarising the guidance. Please feel free to present from these slides
  2. A practical example of implementing the guidance How Salford implemented good nutrition and hydration practice and services in their local area
  3. Mouth care mattersThe Mouth Care Matters initiative, which aims to improve oral health of hospitalised patients for nutrition and hydration purposes
  4. Measuring data – How you can use a BAPEN tool to measure the quality of nutritional care delivered. Please note, we have temporarily taken these slides down. They will be available again in due course so please check back soon.


For more information on the Guidance, please contact: Rachel White, Leadership Support Manager – Patient Experience at NHS England, on; or Lesley Carter, Programme Manager at the Malnutrition Task Force, on

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