Self-screening Pack

The Malnutrition Task Force has developed this resource pack to help identify whether someone is at risk of undernutrition and promote self-screening of older people in the community. It brings together tools that have been developed for use in the community by non-clinical staff, including volunteers and carers who work with older people, or by older people and their families. It includes the following tools:

The DrinKit, developed by researchers at the University of East Anglia, is also available to support hydration care in care homes. 

Most of the tools can be downloaded or accessed online, apart from the Nutrition Wheel. To order hard copies of any of the tools, please contact us

Who is it for?

This resource pack is for anyone who works or volunteers with older people in the community, be that in a community organisation or faith group, care home, domiciliary care, or a volunteer at a lunch club, coffee morning, befriending scheme and so on.

Why use this resource pack?

It is estimated that one in ten older people are at risk of or are undernourished, the majority of whom are living in the community. This means that they are not eating enough to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Signs of unintentional weight loss often go unnoticed until it has a big effect on a person’s health. The tools in this resource pack aim to help tackle the problem of undernutrition in the community by:

  • Encouraging conversations about eating and drinking, to raise awareness of undernutrition in later life.
  • To help identify those at risk using easy to use interactive tools.
  • Provide basic advice about eating well in later life, and signposting to information and sources of help for those likely to be at risk.

The tools have been developed and tested for use in community settings.

The Nutrition Wheel, The Patients Association Nutrition Checklist and The Paperweight Armband may be able to identify someone who is at risk of undernutrition, provide guidance accordingly and act as a prompt to refer someone for clinical screening. If you or someone else is worried about their weight or having difficulty eating, speak to a GP, health professional or practice nurse.  

When should these tools be used?

These tools have been developed for use in community settings, including in community organisations, care homes, and domiciliary care. You do not need training to use the tools but we have provided helpful information and guidance on how to use them.

The tools included are all slightly different and will suit different people, organisations and settings. They could be used:

  • By volunteers in a variety of settings, including lunch clubs, activity clubs, day centres, churches and events
  • In waiting areas within GP practices, community clinics, community pharmacists
  • In care homes for family/carers during coffee mornings or open days
  • By domiciliary care workers during home visits
  • By voluntary sector organisations running home visits, home from hospital services, etc.

Self-screening tool

The BAPEN self-screening tool is a simple screening tool if someone is worried about weight loss, to help them check if they are losing too much weight and at risk of undernutrition. This screening tool is based on the ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (‘MUST’), a validated nutrition screening tool developed by BAPEN to help identify adults at risk of undernutrition and the need for dietary advice.

Share your progress with us

If you have any questions or feedback about using the resource pack, the tools included in the pack, or to share how you are using it locally, please contact us on

We will be evaluating use of the resource pack and screening tools. If you are using any of the tools in your local area, please contact us to be part of the evaluation.  

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