Useful facts, or junk food for thought?
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
BAPEN (formerly known as the British Association of Parental & Enteral Nutrition) has just published a report about malnutrition in care homes – http://www.bapen.org.uk/screening-for-malnutrition/nutrition-screening-week/care-home-reports.
I get a bit cross whenever BAPEN publishes a report like this – I do not question its accuracy or the methodology but I have yet to see any attempt by BAPEN to interpret their findings and set them in context. They simply publish their findings and make vague recommendations.
For example, their report refers to the “extraordinarily large and variable weight changes that occur in care homes during the six months after admission. Residents who were malnourished on admission to care were more likely to lose further weight during their residency, while ‘non-malnourished’ subjects gained weight. Most residents who were underweight on admission remained underweight at the time of the survey.” We can all make good guesses about why this might be the case but nowhere in the report are the reasons explored.
My mum celebrated her 100th birthday this year and she may well be on track to notch-up a couple more. But according to BAPEN’s criteria my mum is probably malnourished – she prefers desserts to vegetables and salads. So what? My mum has being making her own decisions about what she eats since he was a teenager and I don’t think it’s anybody’s place to start making those decisions for her now.
So BAPEN, please, if you want care home operators to take you seriously, can you make some effort to set your findings within the matrix of the realities of ageing?
The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.