Care providers urged to understand signs of malnutrition and dehydration in an awareness campaign

Dementia Care
October 11, 2022

UK Malnutrition Awareness Week (UKMAW) 2022 takes place from 10 – 16 October.

Now in its fifth year, the week led by BAPEN and the Malnutrition Task Force, aims to increase understanding of dangers, risk factors, and signs of malnutrition and dehydration.

The week is targeted at ensuring everyone – including health and social care professionals – works together to find people who are at risk and spread the importance of good nutritional care.

In particular, the campaign organisers want health and social care professionals to be able to spot the signs and symptoms of malnutrition and routinely screen for malnutrition.

They are asking everyone to ‘Ask, Look and Listen’ as part of the awareness campaign.

Ask

If you know somebody who may be vulnerable because they have health problems, because they are older or perhaps because they are isolated, don’t be afraid to ask them if they are eating and drinking. Don’t be afraid to ask about somebody’s appetite or ability to prepare food and drink; it could make all the difference and help you stop malnutrition in its tracks.

Look 

Always be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of unplanned weight loss such as looser clothing, loose belts or rings or dentures. And remember, you won’t always see weight loss so keep your eyes open for other signs like empty fridges and cupboards, local shops that have closed, or reluctance to travel or leave home.

Listen

Listen carefully to what somebody is telling you about their life. It may not be about eating and drinking directly, but is it about feeling tired, feeling worried because they are unwell, feeling lonely, or losing interest in things that usually give them enjoyment? Practise active listening and think about how the way somebody is feeling generally may affect how they are able to look after themselves.

MAG Screening Survey

Health and social care professionals can help take part in the Malnutrition Action Group National Screening Survey. The survey aims to gather data from a range of health and social care settings across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

By screening many people across the UK, the results highlight the scale of malnutrition in acute and community settings.

It is quick and easy to register to screen, and you can do so here throughout October 2022.

Further Information

QCS customers have access to policies covering nutrition and hydration.

BAPEN

VIDEO: Why nutrition matters in care homes

‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (Must Tool)

Treatment of malnutrition

NICE guidance: Nutrition support for adults: oral nutrition support, enteral tube feeding and parenteral nutrition

 Download your free dehydration poster

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