Elderly malnutrition set to cost care sector £15 million

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on hunger has urged the government to tackle malnutrition in the elderly to save the NHS and social care over £15 billion a year.

According to the group, more than a million older people are likely to be malnourished or at risk of malnutrition due to loneliness and isolation, costing the NHS and social care sector £11.9 billion a year - a figure the group claims is likely to increase to £15.7 billion in 2030.

Among the key recommendations in the APPG’s report, is a call for screening tools to be used at all levels of care, allowing carers to identify and treat older people who are suffering from malnutrition.

Frank Field, the committee chair, said: “Hidden beneath the radar, there are malnourished older people in this country spending two or three months withering away in their own homes, with some entering hospital weighing five and a half stone with an infection, or following a fall, which keeps them there for several tortuous days, if not weeks.

“The elimination of malnutrition amongst older people is urgently required for the sake of the NHS, and social care services, but above all for purposes of humaneness. Hence our central recommendation in this report, for a series of innovative pilot schemes that feed and care for older people.”

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