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Nurses given guide to improve community malnutrition

A new guide has been launched to assist community healthcare professionals in identifying and managing patients at risk of disease-related malnutrition.

The Managing Adult Malnutrition in the Community guide has been developed by a multi-professional team and is supported by the Royal College of Nursing, the National Nurses Nutrition Group and the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

The guide encourages all healthcare professionals to identify and appropriately manage malnutrition.

It provides an overview of malnutrition including its clinical consequences, cost implications, details on the prevalence across healthcare settings and information on key patient groups at risk.

The guide also provides information on the identification and management of malnutrition according to risk category; guidance on optimising oral intake including dietary advice; and a pathway on the appropriate use of oral nutritional supplements (ONS).

Liz Evans, nutrition nurse specialist and chair of the NNNG, said: “This is a well thought out and informative piece of work; it is a timely and much needed document. The NNNG are delighted to support it.”

Iain McGregor, former chair of the RCN older people’s forum and nurse member of the consensus panel which developed the document, added: “Malnutrition is often overlooked in the community and with an ageing population many of the risks associated with the disease are on the increase. 

“Nurses will often see patients discharged from hospital on ONS with little information to assist decision making regarding on-going use,” he said. “This guide aims to assist all community healthcare professionals on the appropriate use of ONS for individuals to enable appropriate monitoring, escalation or cessation of the intervention.”

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