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Malnutrition affects over 10 percent of older people and between 19 and 30 percent of all people admitted to hospitals, care homes or mental health units are at risk of malnutrition. Nutrition and mealtimes are a high priority for older people.

The UK Home Care Association estimates that up to 90,000 people who receive home care services could be at risk of malnutrition.

Public expenditure on disease-related malnutrition in the UK in 2007 has been estimated at in excess of £13 billion per annum.

Malnourished patients stay in the hospital longer, are three times as likely to develop complications during surgery, and have a higher mortality rate.

Good leadership, staff induction and training are vital in bringing in a culture change in food, nutrition and mealtimes as are ensuring that there are adequate staff available at meal times.

As a carer, it is important to look at the nutritional value of the food and not just the volume of food that is eaten. It may be necessary to change a person’s diet to ensure that the correct nutrients are being taken while respecting the persons choice and dignity.