An award winning health initiative which is radically reducing
undernutrition in County Durham and Darlington is launching a
national training package.
The innovative work of Focus on Undernutrition (FoU) has enabled
County Durham and Darlington to lead the way nationally on
identifying and treating undernutrition.
The FoU service delivers accredited training and support to
health and social care staff on how to identify and treat
Rachael Masters, Team Lead Dietitian, Focus on Undernutrition
said: "Locally, we have been delivering training through visits to
health and social care environments across the county. We have
implemented FoU in over 75 local care homes, trained over 3000
healthcare staff and 400 catering staff. Since the programme has
become so successful and has been recognised nationally as a
flagship project we wanted to make it more accessible to a wider
"We have developed and are now ready to launch a new website
which includes access to e-learning packages. We have put
together two different e-learning tools, one which is aimed at
identifying and treating undernutrition in care homes and one which
is focused on the community, so people who are living in their own
"The e-learning packages are an alternative, more flexible
approach to training for staff working in the community setting and
in care homes regarding undernutrition.
"We've designed the packages to be as user friendly as possible,
they're easy to navigate and include different learning methods
such as videos, drag and drop activities and multiple choice
"We are delighted to be launching the e-learning and are very
excited about the opportunities this will bring. The e-learning
allows us to provide the same high quality training in a flexible
way so that it can be accessed by organisations and companies
across the UK."
Undernutrition is often thought of as being a problem of the
3rd world but unfortunately it is a major problem within
the UK and is not isolated to hospitals. At any one time it is
estimated that there are over 3 million people in the UK who are at
risk of undernutrition, 93% will be living in the community many of
whom will not be identified as being at risk and therefore not
treated. However, if undernutrition is treated then associated
complications can be reduced by 70% and mortality by 40%.
Working with two care homes in County Durham, the FoU team
piloted the e-learning packages.
Caroline Lecko, from the National Patient Safety Agency said
"The challenges of preventing undernutrition should not be under
estimated. It is essential that healthcare staff are equipped with
the knowledge to understand the importance of good nutritional
care. The Focus on Undernutrition e-learning resource will be a
valuable resource in helping healthcare staff to recognise
individuals who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition and to
implement appropriate and practical care pathways to support those
Joyce Spencely, from Howlish Hall Nursing Home said: "The
e-learning packages worked very well. It is a positive step for the
FoU programme and it will be an advantage for us with new starters
when they can access the training online. It's more flexible and
will save staff time."
The training package, which takes approximately two hours to
complete, includes access to a wide range of resources and
A cake was kindly produced by Broom Mill Farm in West Auckland
for the event and was cut by Sue Jacques, Chief Executive, Tony
Waites, Chairman and Rachael Masters.
If you would like further information about the Focus on
Undernutrition e-learning or other resources please contact 01388
452330 or www.focusonundernutrition.co.uk
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: 23 March 2012
For more information about Focus on Undernutrition or the new
e-learning training packages visit: www.focusonundernutrition.co.uk
'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after
and very impressed.'
Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital