The Department of Health has launched a Nutrition action plan that aims to tackle malnutrition and ensure the nutritional needs of older people in hospitals and care homes are better met.
The action plan contains five priorities:
- To raise awareness of the link between nutrition and good health and that malnutrition can be treated
- To ensure that accessible guidance is available across all sectors and that the most relevant guidance is appropriate and user-friendly
- To strongly encourage nutritional screening for all people using health and social care services; with particular attention to those groups who are known to be vulnerable
- To encourage provision and access to relevant training for frontline staff and managers on the importance of nutrition for good health and nutritional care
- To clarify standards and strengthen inspection and regulation
In order to support these priorities a training programme on nutritional care and assistance with eating will be available to all NHS and social care staff from May 2008.
Action: Clinicians should be aware of the importance of good nutrition and adequate hydration for health outcomes and be able to advise patients about their diet.