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Appetite for life

Nurses should increase their understanding of how to prevent malnutrition in older people, says Liz Anderson.

Nurses should increase their understanding of how to prevent malnutrition in older people, says Liz Anderson.

A report by the British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and the National Institute for Health Research puts the cost of malnutrition in England at a staggering £19.6 billion a year, more than 15% of total public expenditure on health and social care (Elia 2015).

However, this important study received little media coverage when published last November. It is possible that many trusts and healthcare professionals were not aware of its publication. If we are not aware, how can patients be?

Malnutrition is expected to increase due to an ageing population. Almost one third of adults are malnourished on admittance to hospital, as are 35% of adults admitted to care homes.

Malnutrition can have a detrimental effect on the functions of all parts of the body. It can delay

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