Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

SALLY Rogers, ex­ec­u­tive nurse and di­rec­tor of qual­ity, NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG

IF you have a loved one liv­ing in an Eastern Cheshire care home, you’ll be pleased to read about a new ser­vice that’s help­ing res­i­dents get the nu­tri­tion they need while en­sur­ing they are only pre­scribed nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments when nec­es­sary.

Funded by the CCG and pro­vided by East Cheshire NHS Trust, the di­etet­ics ser­vice is run by two di­eti­tians and a di­etetic as­sis­tant who visit the area’s 60-plus care homes to ad­vise on: Nu­tri­tional care plans Signs and symp­toms of mal­nu­tri­tion and de­hy­dra­tion

Re­fer­ring res­i­dents to other health­care pro­fes­sion­als

The ser­vice en­cour­ages a food-first ap­proach to the treat­ment of mal­nu­tri­tion.

In other words, the use of sup­ple­ments as a mat­ter of course is dis­cour­aged while recog­nis­ing that they are needed in cer­tain cir­cum­stances.

This new ap­proach will help im­prove the health of care home res­i­dents be­cause we know that ef­fec­tive treat­ment of mal­nu­tri­tion in the com­mu­nity can re­duce:

Hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions and lengths of stay Pres­sure ul­cers In­ap­pro­pri­ate pre­scrib­ing of sup­ple­ments

The ser­vice sees res­i­dents within two weeks of re­ceiv­ing a re­fer­ral from the GP twinned with the home in ques­tion. Re­ferred res­i­dents are then as­sessed for mal­nu­tri­tion and given ad­vice on the right diet and, if ap­pro­pri­ate, a rec­om­men­da­tion is made for a pre­scrip­tion sup­ple­ment. A nu­tri­tional care plan is then agreed with care home staff and with res­i­dents who have suf­fi­cient men­tal ca­pac­ity.

The ser­vice also of­fers de­tailed train­ing to staff – in­clud­ing chefs, and pro­vides lit­er­a­ture on di­ets to meet the needs of care home res­i­dents.

The clin­i­cal con­se­quences of mal­nu­tri­tion can in­clude weak­en­ing of the im­mune sys­tem, re­duced mus­cle strength, im­paired wound heal­ing and poor re­cov­ery from ill­ness and surgery.

That’s why I’m de­lighted that the CCG and trust are work­ing to­gether to en­sure that care home res­i­dents are ben­e­fit­ing from sound di­etary ad­vice that’s en­sur­ing the best pos­si­ble out­comes while im­prov­ing qual­ity of life.

In the first six months since its launch last April, the di­etet­ics ser­vice saved nearly £145,000 in re­duced pre­scrib­ing of nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments – or £22,000 more than the an­nual £123,000 cost of run­ning the ser­vice.

Re­duced ex­pen­di­ture on sup­ple­ments has brought the CCG in line with the na­tional av­er­age and re­versed a lon­grun­ning trend of an­nual rises of up to 10 per cent, with the CCG spend­ing around £1m on sup­ple­ments in 2015-16.

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