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Malnutrition in care homes is major concern, survey reveals

 British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) calls for more integrated health and social care strategies

Malnutrition in care homes is a major health and social care burden according to the biggest malnutrition survey ever undertaken in care homes.

The survey by the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN), calls for more integrated health and social care strategies.

BAPEN conducted four nutritional screening weeks in a total of 474 UK care homes, involving a total of 3,971 residents between 2007 and 2011.

One third of residents were found to be malnourished and those who were underweight when admitted to care were more likely to lose further weight.

It was also found that being underweight increased with age and was also more likely in residents with cancer and multiple conditions.

The survey highlighted improvements in awareness of malnutrition. The majority of homes recorded residents weight and height on admission and weighed them during their stay and offered access to dietetic services. The vast majority of care homes used a nutritional screening tool and linked the results to a care plan.

Malnutrition affects more than three million people in the UK. Associated health and social care costs are around £20 billion annually in England alone and if nutritional needs are ignored, health outcomes are worse, according to BAPEN.

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