Age UK London is currently campaigning to make sure older people do not suffer malnutrition in hospital.
Our report - Still Hungry to be Heard in London - examines how far NHS Hospital Trusts in London have met Age UK’s seven recommended steps to tackle malnutrition.
The report shows that by NHS Trusts’ own account, action taken to tackle malnutrition has been patchy and the effectiveness of changes uneven.
Whilst there are grounds for encouragement in some areas, we are still particularly concerned by apparent weaknesses in ensuring sufficient screening of older patients for signs of malnutrition at different stages in their care and discharge.
It is also disappointing that many hospitals are still not using volunteers to help patients at mealtimes and that some are finding it difficult to ensure that ‘protected mealtimes’ really are protected.
- All hospitals to adopt the use of pictorial menus.
- Nutritional training must cover the specific needs of older people and how older people should be monitored for the signs of malnutrition to ensure the specific needs of older people are met
- Regular audits to check accuracy of screening for malnutrition
- All older patients to be screened for malnutrition on discharge
- Trusts to put in place strategies to increase effectiveness of protected mealtimes and to cover all mealtimes.
- All Trusts to conduct an audit to measure the effectiveness of the red tray system.
- All NHS Trusts should actively consider using volunteers to help at mealtimes if they are not already doing so.
We would also very much like to hear from older people who read this report about how what the Trusts have told us compares with what you or your family or friends have experienced. Please contact Gordon Deuchars with your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org
Help support the campaign by sending an email or letter (download a template below) to your local NHS Trust asking them how they plan to tackle malnutrition in their hospital. Don't forget to attach a copy of the Still Hungry to be Heard in London report.