Independence Day: Reinventing health and social care – Hearing Three

Nutrition and independence by Kate Hall

Through working in collaboration with others, Nutricia strives to ensure that the right people consistently get the right nutritional care at the right time. Estimates show there are three million people malnourished or at risk of malnutrition in the UK at any given time. An aging population combined with an increase in medical conditions associated with malnutrition, such as dementia, means the challenge for society to address this issue has never been greater. Effective prevention and management strategies are needed to help people stay independent for longer whether it be in their own homes or in a care setting. Nutricia have been, and continue to be, an active contributor in raising not only the awareness of the problem but working with others on putting actions in place to manage. It is only through working together can things change, focusing on the individual person and asking them what their needs are and what is important to them and basing the care provision around their health and well-being (quality of life) outcomes. Nutrition still does not necessarily feature highly as a priority need such as highlighted recently in an HSJ survey.

The recent Malnutrition Task Force Conference illustrated what has already been achieved through the Malnutrition Task Force and what is next. It will be interesting to hear how the five pilot sites develop and implement their strategies on tackling malnutrition in older people and it is really encouraging that they have been successful in their bid for funding and also with Ministerial support. The Guardian Health Care Network is also featuring a succession of articles which explains malnutrition and has contributions from various individuals and organisations on their actions and experiences of nutritional care.

A truly integrated approach to nutritional care, which to the individual appears seamless, is the ideal and is supportive in encouraging independence, self-care and improved quality of life and there are examples already in place. For more information on the work Nutricia is doing in this area, please see this video.

 Kate Hall, External Affairs Manager, Nutricia