As a Case Manager, you focus on achieving quality outcomes for your members by assessing their care needs. Your goal is to keep your members healthy and living in their homes. One area that tends to get overlooked in care plans is malnutrition. It is estimated that 1 out of 2 older adults is at risk for malnutrition. Malnutrition in older adults leads to more complications, falls, and hospital readmissions. Plus, it can increase healthcare costs by 300%.This week is Malnutrition Awareness Week. The campaign is supported by more than 110 organizations around the world with the goals to:
- Educate healthcare professionals about early detection and treatment of malnutrition
- Educate consumers/patients on the importance of discussing their nutrition status with healthcare professionals
- Increase awareness of nutrition’s role on patient recovery
Since you interact directly with members, you are in a unique position to identify and manage malnutrition. The Malnutrition Awareness Week website has multiple resources such as videos, podcasts, infographics, and nutrition screening tools to assist you. But knowing the warning signs is the first step.
Here are a few questions you can ask your members to determine if they are at risk:
- Have you experienced sudden, unexpected weight loss?
- Do you have a loss of appetite?
- Are you tired or fatigued?
- Do your muscles feel weak?
- Do you have frequent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea?
If a member answers yes to one of these questions, they may need further assessment. We use the MNA®, because it is validated in older adults, and there is also a self-evaluation version. Home-delivered meals will help ensure members are eating nutritious meals if a member is identified as at risk. Home-delivered meals improve diet quality, nutrient intake and reduce food insecurity.
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