BAPEN survey finds 40% of those in care at risk of malnutrition

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Disease-related malnutrition continues to be prevalent in hospitals, care homes and community settings across the UK according to the National Survey of Malnutrition and Nutritional Care in Adults Survey Report published this month.

Last October, BAPEN and the Malnutrition Action Group (MAG) conducted a national screening survey of malnutrition and nutritional care in adults. The survey was open for a month and coincided with UK Malnutrition Awareness Week 2020. The report highlights the findings of the survey, revealing that overall 40% were at risk of malnutrition, whilst around one quarter of patients were underweight, 19% were obese and around one fifth had unplanned weight loss.

The survey aimed to take the temperature on the status of nutritional care across all health and social care settings in the UK. Data was collected on 1,183 adults, 76% of it from hospitals and the rest from a variety of community settings (24%) across the UK, thus building a comprehensive picture of the malnutrition problem on a national scale.

‘MUST’ was a key component of the screening survey, enabling an assessment to be made of the number of people screened that were at risk of malnutrition. The report breaks down the ‘MUST’ results, giving an insight into risk by age, setting, and disease state. The nutritional care assessment is also analysed by various factors, facilitating the improved understanding of potential patterns and learnings.

BAPEN’s President, Dr Trevor Smith, says: “It is so important that we understand the quantity and quality of nutritional care that people are receiving, as well as the prevalence of malnutrition in both acute and community settings." 

Dr Rebecca Stratton, Chair of MAG, adds: “This survey is such an important way for us to further our collective understanding of how prevalent malnutrition continues to be and how widely used nutritional care is across the UK. I was particularly pleased that patients included in the survey had a range of primary diagnoses, enabling us to draw conclusions about malnutrition and nutritional care across a breadth of conditions. 

"Although the prevalence of malnutrition remains high, encouragingly, we saw a breadth of nutritional interventions included in the care plans for the management of this condition. It will be incredibly worthwhile to analyse the findings from this report in conjunction with the data we hope to gather from our 2021 Malnutrition Awareness Week Survey to examine trends over time in malnutrition prevalence and nutritional care."

The screening survey online portal opens for the third consecutive year on October 1, 2021 and will run for the entire month of October, open to all health and social care workers. BAPEN wants to maintain the momentum of this work and is encouraging as many people as possible to take part.

The full report from the 2020 screening survey is available to read here.  



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