Malnutrition related to disease and ageing, affects 3 million people in the UK. Overlooked and untreated, malnutrition adversely affects clinical outcomes, quality of life and increases health and social care costs. The Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community website and resources aim to raise awareness of the issue of disease-related malnutrition in the community and provide professionals and patients with materials to assist them to identify, manage and reverse malnutrition.
The website and resources were developed as a consequence of a national qualitative review and GP survey. The qualitative review identified that across the UK guidance available on the management of malnutrition in the community was inconsistent and in some cases impractically long, lacking reference to clinical evidence and failing to guide goal setting and outcome measures. A concurrent survey amongst GPs representing all four UK nations, established that healthcare professionals were keen to have easily accessible, evidence-based advice on the subject of malnutrition. In response, a multi-disciplinary, expert healthcare professional team was convened to address the resource gap and develop succinct practical guidance based on published, peer reviewed evidence and clinical experience where evidence was limited.
The resulting guidance, including pathways for identifying and treating malnutrition and a guide to assist in the appropriate use of oral nutritional supplements (ONS), was launched in 2012 and updated in 2017 (a further update is due later this year). Complimentary guidance aimed at supporting patients with COPD was launched in 2014 and updated in January 2020.
The guidance is endorsed by key professional and patient organisations, including the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). Patient materials have been developed alongside the documents and resources also include a number of fully referenced complimentary fact sheets. All are free to download.
Working closely with national organisations, as well as local NHS trusts, to tackle the issue of disease-related malnutrition in the UK, the Malnutrition Pathway team fully support the great work that Nutritank is doing to increase nutrition education within medical school curricula.
Nutritional Management of Patients During and After COVID-19
The Malnutrition Pathway team has developed guidance, including a care pathway, to assist healthcare professionals in addressing nutritional issues of patients with COVID-19 who they may be supporting in the community – www.malnutritionpathway.co.uk/covid19-community-hcp.
Appropriate patient / carer leaflets are also available – www.malnutritionpathway.co.uk/covid19
The new guidance and supporting patient materials have been endorsed by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN). They highlight the importance of providing good nutritional care during this pandemic including suggestions for assessing and identifying nutritional issues when conducting remote consultations.