How undernutrition is putting pressure on NHS services

  • 30% of adults on admission to hospital are at risk of undernutrition
  • 35% of residents admitted to care are at risk of undernutrition
  • Undernutrition costs the NHS in excess of £19 billion per year

 

The solution

A digitally enabled care pathway enabling health professionals to treat patients at scale

Our award-winning Health Call undernutrition programme aims to improve the well-being of patients who are at risk of undernutrition or who are already undernourished.

Our simple to use digital technology enables health care professionals to monitor a patient’s weight, appetite and compliance with prescribed oral nutritional supplements. The Health Call undernutrition programme reduces the need for home visits and routine outpatient appointments whilst supporting the patient and their carer to be more involved in their own nutritional health.

The patient can be contacted through a landline or mobile telephone where they’ll be asked questions around their current eating habits and to record their weight. The service uses simple technology meaning the service can be used by everyone.

Our technology assesses the patient’s behaviour and BMI and if readings are outside of the pre-determined parameters, a healthcare professional is alerted and contact is made with the patient to make changes to their diet.

Through our digital technology we’ve been able to help practices and care homes manage undernutrition at scale. Identifying those that need treatment early on and managing patients throughout their journey has resulted in improved patient well-being, whilst increasing capacity and providing cost savings for services.

The undernutrition service is in place in over 80 care homes across the North East, providing vital support to care home workers and the local dietetics teams. Using a secure web portal, the resident’s weight, appetite levels and how they’re managing with their supplements are recorded onto the portal and the data is sent to the nutrition and dietetics team where the results are assessed.

The benefits

  • Improved decision making – Patient readings flow into leading GP systems meaning healthcare professionals have access to real-time patient data. Accurate data means better decisions can be made around every patient.
  • Improved patient experience – NHS Health Call Undernutrition supports patients to understand and manage their own nutritional health meaning patients reported feeling better cared for and supported.
  • Cost savings – Regular monitoring of patients means health professionals can respond to a patient’s progress in a more timely manner leading to a reduction in ineffective or inappropriate prescribing of oral nutritional supplements.
  • Improved efficiency – Reducing the need for routine patient visits relieves pressures on healthcare professionals and means resource can be distributed more effectively. Essentially, increasing capacity means more patients can be treated with the same resources.

Undernutrition Patient FAQs

What is undernutrition?

Undernutrition in the UK is a widespread problem which affects an estimated 3 million adults. Undernutrition can occur when a person isn’t getting enough nutrients into their diet. Lack of nutrients can result in a poor immune system which can make someone more susceptible to illnesses.

What is the Health Call Undernutrition Service?

The Health Call Undernutrition Service enables you and a healthcare clinician to monitor your nutritional health. The service allows you to be involved in managing your own nutritional health which may include taking nutritional supplements.

How will the Health Call Undernutrition service enhance my care?

On the Health Call Undernutrition Service, you will be supported by a healthcare clinician. This means you will be monitored regularly to make sure you are benefiting from the dietary advice and any nutritional supplements that have been recommended for you. If any concerns are highlighted, you will be contacted by your clinician who will provide you with the support and advice you need. You be also be provided with contact details of your clinician should you need them.

How does the Health Call Undernutrition service work?

You and your clinician will arrange a convenient day and time for your automated telephone call. You will receive a call every week at the same time. If you need to change the date and time you can do so by calling your clinician. You should weigh yourself no more than 24 hours before the automated phone call is due. When you receive the phone call, follow the instructions and enter your weight when prompted. You will also be asked questions around your general health, supplement intake and appetite.

What questions will I be asked on the Health Call Undernutrition service and when should I weigh myself?

The questions you will be asked are:

  • What is your weight?
  • How would you describe your eating?
  • How are you managing with your nutritional supplements?
  • You should make sure you weigh yourself no more than 24 hours before your scheduled call

What will happen if I forget to weigh myself?

If you have not been able to weigh yourself, you’ll be asked to do so and you’ll receive another call within 30 minutes.

What will happen if I miss the scheduled call?

Don’t worry if you miss the call. The call will retry you a further 3 times at half-hour intervals.

 

Undernutrition Care Home faqs

What is undernutrition?

Undernutrition in the UK is a widespread problem which affects an estimated 3 million adults. Undernutrition can occur when a person isn’t getting enough nutrients into their diet. Lack of nutrients can result in a poor immune system which can make someone more susceptible to illnesses.

What is the Health Call Undernutrition Service?

The Health Call Undernutrition Service enables the care home and clinicians to monitor the nutritional health of residents within the care home. The service allows the care home to provide information regarding the nutritional health of their residents directly to their healthcare professional.

How will the Health Call Undernutrition service enhance my care?

On the Health Call Undernutrition Service, you will be supported by a healthcare clinician. This means that your residents will be monitored regularly to make sure they are benefiting from the dietary advice and any nutritional supplements that have been recommended. If any concerns are highlighted, you will be contacted by your clinician who will provide you with the support and advice you need to support your residents. You be also be provided with contact details of your clinician should you need them.

How does the Health Call Undernutrition service work?

The care home can provide the information via an app or web-based portal, an alert or email will be received when the information is needed. how often this is needed will be discussed with your healthcare clinician. The resident should be weighed no more than 24 hours before the reading is due. When you log in to the app or web-based portal, follow the instructions and enter the weight when prompted. You will also be asked questions around the general health, supplement intake and appetite of the resident.

What questions will I be asked on the Health Call Undernutrition service and when should I weigh the resident?

The questions you will be asked are:

  • What is your weight?
  • How would you describe your eating?
  • How are you managing with your nutritional supplements?
  • You should make sure you weigh the resident no more than 24 hours before the reading is due

How long do I have to provide the information?

You will have 48 hours to provide the required information, a healthcare clinician will receive an alert if it is not provided.

 

Testimonials

Should be rolled out nationally. Commissioners should make it mandatory.

If I have to go to the surgery to be seen, it’s an hour, the phone call is two minutes.

It’s easy! The best thing is, when my weight differs, up or down, I get a phone call.

Resources

Download the Health Call undernutrition service brochure and get more understanding around how our undernutrition pathway can work for you.

Undernutrition Service Leaflet

Health Call Undernutrition Service Brochure

Patient Safety Awards: Undernutrition presentation

Share
website design by Dotty About Design