Brighton and Hove health chiefs raise concern about older people at risk of malnutrition

Health chiefs have raised concerns that older people are at risk of malnutrition across Brighton and Hove despite some steps being taken to help the most vulnerable.

Councillor Dick Page said that, nationally, an estimated one in ten older people were suffering from or were at risk of malnutrition.

He was quoting the annual report of the director of public health for Brighton and Hove at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board.

The Green councillor said that there was a malnutrition screening tool but, in Brighton and Hove, it was used only to check older residents when they had an adult social care assessment.

Concern was expressed that older residents using private health services may be discharged from hospital without being assessed.

Labour Councillor Karen Barford said: “There are a lot of people paying for care who don’t ever actually present for an assessment.”

Councillor Barford called for information about hydration and nutrition to be shared with nursing homes and other private health care providers so that all older residents were better informed.

She praised the work of the Food Partnership locally but added: “We have a duty to do a lot more – and reach a lot more people across the city.”

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove chief executive David Liley said: “It struck us that there are something like 22 different ways in which frail older people can be discharged from the Royal Sussex County Hospital and not one single agreed way in which their nutrition and hydration needs at the point of discharge are followed up later on and can be monitored and followed through.”

The Health and Wellbeing Board was discussing progress on the Food Poverty Action Plan.

The plan is being implemented by the not-for-profit Brighton and Hove Food Partnership on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council.

One idea was that older people with care packages should be encouraged to eat with other people rather than alone.

The meeting, at Hove Town Hall, heard that the Food Poverty Action Plan was targeting food poverty across every demographic, with food banks and school meals among the other areas of focus.

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Nobody bothers with assessments about coping when you go home when discharging people from hospital any more. You just get the bums rush and hustled out…left to it. Regardless of the state you are in and this has been true for some years now.

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