January 09, 2017

Tackling undernutrition in Darlington: Uniting health and social care at Age UK luncheon clubs

The elderly, especially during the winter months are at high risk of both undernutrition and social isolation. So in partnership with County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust and Age UK Darlington we have set up a series of lunches to help the elderly stay happier and healthier this winter.

The scheme, led by Catherine McShane, Specialist Dietitian at County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust enables patient’s weight, appetite and information on oral nutritional supplement intake to be submitted via an easy to use smartphone or tablet app. Information is made available to the local dietetic team and the GP meaning contact can be made with any patient they are concerned about.

Following an initial assessment, the patient is invited to the free to attend lunches where they can enjoy a hot two-course meal, have access to specialist advice and get weighed. The lunches enable clinicians to identify those at risk and ensure they are being offered ongoing support. Often many older people lack the motivation to cook for themselves, resulting in unintentional weight loss. Social isolation is also common among this age group so the lunches mean they can socialize with others who are in a similar situation.

Currently, elderly people at risk of undernutrition need to attend clinic to be weighed or a nurse would visit them at home. Weighing patients in this way reduces routine weigh in appointments and reduces the risk of A&E admission as deterioration in health is spotted much earlier. What’s more, for patients they are being weighed in a friendly, relaxed and social environment.

If you or a family member would like to attend the lunches, please contact Catherine, on 07717 480208 or Dave Regan, activities coordinator at Age UK Darlington on 01325 362832.

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