NACC launches recruitment drive to wage war on malnutrition in older people

National association challenges sector to pull together and speak with one voice

2011 sees a new focus for the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) who is throwing down the gauntlet to all those working in the care sector, challenging them to join the war on malnutrition in older people.  The NACC hopes to encourage new members to join them to improve standards for community meals services and to help stop the elderly slipping through the net and becoming malnourished.

To kick start its new recruitment drive the NACC will be launching new information sheets for everyone working in the sector. These will focus on improving services, ensuring those working with older people are providing more than just a meal,  and will share best practices and information on malnutrition.

The NACC will also be further reaching out to government ministers and other players in the catering industry by speaking at the Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum this week, with the objective of promoting the importance of a community meals service and further highlighting the issue of malnutrition in older people. The forum’s purpose is to promote informed debate on food and health issues and, thereby, to support effective policy development.

Currently the biggest challenge facing the care catering sector is the growing number of over 65 year olds and how to care for them in the future without mounting care bills. In 2008 the number of over 65 year olds in the UK was 16% of the population, but this is due to rise to 23% by 2033. Dementia is also set to rise in the next 10 years by 34% – all will need good nutritional care.

Figures show that currently £13.6 billion (BAPEN 2009 figures) is spent annually on treating malnutrition in the UK. The NACC hopes that by encouraging new members to join, together they can push the government to make an investment in the care catering sector now, rather than cutting these services, which will help save money in the long term. For example, research in Australia has shown that spending £1 on good nutrition is likely to save £5 on the health budget as care packages are reduced.

Recent government cuts are already badly affecting the sector with some local authorities putting up their Community Meals charges by as much as 75% and others scrapping their meals services altogether. This is likely to mean more people will become malnourished and the costs of caring for them are likely to increase.

Derek Johnson, NACC Chairman of the NACC said: “We hope to encourage more people to join the NACC to allow us to have a greater industry voice and push for greater investment in the sector, helping to eliminate poor nutrition in older people. By working together we can guarantee our messages are heard more effectively and that we are able to lobby and promote the community meals service and the important role this service plays for the care sector. There is clear evidence that more elderly people are entering and leaving hospital malnourished. Those working in the care catering sector need to be able to ensure they are in a position to provide a standard of care that allows them to monitor the health of older people and provide them with nutritionally balanced meals, ensuring this does not continue to happen.”

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For more information and to arrange an interview, please contact: Lucy Jones, jag press & publicity on: 07912567063/ 01403 793836

Notes to editors:

Malnutrition is a state of nutrition in which a deficiency, excess, imbalance of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effects on tissue, body form (body shape, size and composition)and clinical outcomes (ENHA/BAPEN 2006).

The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) is a progressive organisation representing professionals providing catering to the care industry. They are recognised by Local Authorities, independent providers, the charitable sector and Government departments as a prime source of information and opinion on all aspects of catering within the care sector and whose primary aim is to improve standards.
The NACC works with a number of partners to:

  • To promote and enrich the standard of catering within the care sector, whether that catering be provided by Social Care Departments or other Caring Agencies
  • To provide a forum for debate among individuals, companies and organisations of all kinds involved in catering for the care sector
  • To facilitate the exchange of information, experience and expertise
  • To promote the development of professional standards among those involved in catering for the care sector
  • To commission research into matters relating to catering for the care sector
  • To publish guidelines, policy papers and authoritative statements on all aspects of catering for the care sector
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