Care home is where the heart is - but first a drink

Jessie Retallick, prescribing support dietitian for NHS Kernow, is guest blogging for Louisa this month on the topic of nutrition and hydration. Jessie is passionate about raising awareness and educating people on malnutrition.

Good nutrition and hydration can be thirsty work.

This week it’s nutrition and hydration week (Monday 11 to 17 March) so it's the perfect time to talk about good nutrition and hydration!

I’ve been following Louisa’s blog and have been really interested in reading the great work happening in care homes as part of the Enhanced Health in Care Home (EHCH) project, which is why I've decided to focus on the importance of nutrition and hydration in care homes across Cornwall.

We know that good nutrition and hydration is key to helping care home residents feel and stay well but also to helping prevent weight loss, infections and falls, and hospital admissions.

Did you know that malnutrition is a significant problem in the UK? Especially in older people, with one in 10 people older than 65 being malnourished, or at risk of malnutrition. On admission to a care home 35 percent of people are at risk of malnutrition.

It’s these sorts of stats that make me really pleased to let you that we recently employed two new care home support dietitian roles within Cornwall. 

Karen Garvican is one bhalf of the duo who has already joined NHS Kernow, she has leapt in and is already working hard to identify the issues around screening for malnutrition. Our second care home support dietitian is due to start next month and between them they will be providing essential support and training to care homes to help them identify residents at risk of malnutrition and provide optimum nutritional care to their residents.

Good hydration is an essential part of keeping healthy but dehydration can be a problem in both care home residents and others in the community. A key message and a really positive action for us all to remember is to consider offering someone a drink when we first see them – see #ButFirstA Drink. 

For more information on the national and global initiatives happening for nutrition and hydration week, including the global tea party today Wednesday 13 March.