Northants pioneers malnutrition ‘direct referral' for care home residents

BAPEN MUST malnutrition screening tool
A guide to using the MUST screening tool
12/09/2017 - 07:00
A system to directly refer care home residents for specialist nutrition and dietetic action has been developed by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, according to website The Academy of Fabulous Stuff.

The website, set up to share ‘fabulous things’ about the NHS, reports that the system works when residents are categorised as ‘high risk’ following a Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) assessment.

The care home implements food fortification advice and a review. If further weight loss is recorded the resident is referred directly to the nutrition and dietetics service following completion of a referral form and the submission of records showing food and fluid intake for the previous five days.

At this point a dietitian calls the care home staff to provide a dietetic assessment and a meal plan for the resident.

At the same time a letter is sent to both the resident’s GP and care home with treatment and type and quantity of nutritional supplement if they meet ACBS (Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances) criteria.

Any resident prescribed a nutritional supplement is reviewed by the nutrition and dietetics service. In other words every resident assessed as needing dietetic care receives it.

The Academy of Fabulous Stuff website reports that the success of the new pathway, brought in only after all care home staff were trained on MUST nutritional screening, food fortification, and menu and care planning, has meant the Northamptonshire trust’s Medicine Management team is looking at the feasibility of creating similar pathways for patients living in their own homes.

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