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  • 1 June 2017 to 28 February 2019
  • Project No: 377
  • Funding round: FR 13

Managing malnutrition in later life

Malnutrition is a serious condition that occurs when a person’s diet lacks the amount of nutrients they need. It is a common problem in older people that can lead to weight loss, weakness and fatigue. If left unchecked, it can cause older people to become underweight, and more prone to severe illness and hospitalisation. Malnutrition can go unnoticed in the early stages as it can be difficult to recognise, and General Practitioners or practice nurses may not have the time or have received training on how to deal with this condition. Currently, little is known about the dietary choices made by older people at risk of malnutrition, how it is recognised and acted upon, and how it can be improved.

In this study, we will interview older people who are underweight or at risk of malnutrition and friend/family carers of older people who need help to prepare their meals. We will explore the decisions they make about the food they buy and eat, their knowledge about dietary needs in later life, the advice and support they might need and the best place to seek support. We will also ask older people and their carers for their views on how primary care could support nutritional and healthy eating advice e.g. from the GP, practice nurse or health care assistant. This study will lead to further work in which we would explore ways primary care can help older people make changes to their diet in order to maintain a healthy weight and receive all the nutrients they need.

Amount awarded: £62,219

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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