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By Kirstine Farrer, Consultant Dietitian, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Emma Rose, Programme Director, Age UK Salford

The risk of older adults developing Malnutrition is arguably higher in the current climate. Malnutrition is a serious condition which can increase a person’s risk of infection as well as slow down their recovery. Those with an infection, such as Covid-19, are also at higher risk of developing malnutrition and dehydration which slows their recovery and may consequently result in readmission to hospital and further complications. Unintentional weight loss, especially if rapid weight loss usually reflects loss of muscle mass, which may be particularly relevant for people recovering after a period of intensive care.

In Greater Manchester we are mindful there may be limited capacity from the dietetic teams to support face to face reviews and domiciliary visits are limited due to many older adults self-isolating or shielding. More than ever there is a need to aim for varied and nutritious a diet and to keep hydrated to maintain both body weight and health. The British Dietetic Association have useful dietary information is available.

In response to this, partners in Greater Manchester are advocating the safe, effective and simple self-management approaches which have been co-designed by older adults, piloted and independently evaluated through the Greater Manchester Nutrition and Hydration programme.

These resources and approaches have been designed to be used by anyone who has contact with older people. They are endorsed and supported by the programme’s Clinical Reference Group, the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

We are very proud of what the programme has achieved to date across 5 localities.

Alongside this, local hubs providing food supplies during this period are working to ensure that food parcels include appropriate items for people who need to gain weight. This may include skimmed milk powder, full-fat products and snacks.

Through the Nutrition and Hydration programme, the PaperWeight Armband has been used to identify people who may be at risk of malnutrition. This is a safe and proven effective model to promote self-management at this time and is being promoted through current plans related to food provision and care or support for older people.

The programme’s resources include 2 distinct packs to be used during this period.

Pack 1 is for people at greater risk of malnutrition

This includes people being discharged from hospital, on community dietetic waiting lists and those who are showing signs of reduced appetite, unplanned weight loss or who are underweight. This includes:

· PaperWeight Armband

· Eat, Drink and Live well booklet

· Food first recipes

Pack 2 contains general information which is relevant for all older people.

This includes:

· Hydration tips and weight loss signs

· Staple cupboard recipes

· Nutrition and Hydration during Covid-19

· Shopping for a friend or relative

Further information is available to provide brief training for front-line workers and volunteers so they know when to send out Pack 1 and give simple tips and encouragement to help them to eat more if needed.

Nutrition and Hydration Resources

Download our Nutrition and Hydration Resources.

How can I access these resources?

  1. Download them using the links above
  2. Request hard copies of resources from your local programme manager (contact details below)
  3. Contact Age UK Salford on 0161 7887300 to request a pack to be sent through the post

Bolton: Nicola Calder –

Bury: Carmel Berke -

Manchester: Elizabeth Bainbridge

Oldham: Marie Price

Rochdale: Martin Hazlehurst

Salford: Martin Hazlehurst or Carmel Berke -

Stockport: Siobhan McKenna –

Tameside: Siobhan McKenna –

Trafford: Marie Price

Wigan: Martin Hazlehurst

Clinical Reference Group membership

Kirstine Farrer – Consultant Dietitian Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (Chair)

Prof John McLaughlin – Consultant Gastroenterologist

Dr Jennifer Connolly – Director of Public Health Stockport

Emma Rose - GMHSC Director Nutrition and Hydration Programme

Dr Manish Ansari – GP Primary Care, Oldham

Gill Hooper – Care Home Nutrition

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