A good body weight is a protective factor in older people. It is better for older people to carry a little extra weight as this will help to see them through illness and times when their appetite is poor. It is important that you keep a watch for residents that are losing weight so you can find out why and act.
You may notice the person you care for eating less, visibly looking thinner or their clothing becoming loose.
Have you observed any coughing or choking when eating and drinking? Might they have a swallowing difficulty?
Are you doing monthly weight checks? Do you know if they are gaining or losing weight? Are you completing the MUST score?
Try to identify reasons why a person may be losing weight e.g. deterioration in mental health, infections, medications, depression, dentures.
Choose high calorie options
Little and often is better than one big meal
Ensure food is the correct consistency for modified diets
Weight loss is continuing
Consider referral to Speech and Language Therapist if there are concerns about a swallowing difficulty
Follow the MUST pathway:-
If MUST score of 1 - follow first line advice.
Look in the resource section of 'Eating' for more help
As a care home you are able to directly refer into the Community Dietetics service using their referral form.
You should notify the resident's GP of your concerns and discuss this with them