According to the World Health Organisation, malnutrition is prevalent amongst older Australians. Common factors that lead to malnutrition in older persons include social isolation, poor oral health, and at times the acceptance of unintentional weight loss as the norm in old age. Malnutrition and weight loss can hasten entry into residential aged care and negatively impact on the person’s health and quality of life. It is, therefore, essential to screen individuals who have or are at risk of malnutrition and implement person-centered strategies to ensure adequate nutrition and hydration.
Care workers working with older persons in their homes, community settings, or residential aged care settings are required to monitor their client’s food and nutrition, participate in malnutrition screening and implement preventative strategies identified by the multidisciplinary team. As such, care workers are required to have an in-depth understanding of the importance of adequate nutrition and hydration in older people. This can be developed by familiarizing yourself with the organization’s policies and procedures in relation to monitoring food and nutrition services, assist with meals, hydration, and oral supplemental nutrition and participate inadequate education and training activities.
Click on the links below for further information:
Malnutrition – Hospital acquired complication (Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care)
Dietitians Association of Australia 2019, Is Malnutrition an Issue in Australia? Dietitians Association of Australia, viewed 23rd May 2020, https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/medical/is-malnutrition-an-issue-in-australia/
World Health Organization 2019, Nutrition for Older Persons, WHO, viewed 23rd May 2020, https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/ageing/en/index1.html