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Funding to support Darlington's elderly at risk of undernutrition

Funding to support Darlington's elderly at risk of undernutrition

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has secured over £73,000 in a competitive national bidding process for an innovative project to help combat isolation and undernutrition in older people living in the Darlington area.

 Project leader, Catherine McShane, who heads up the team at Darlington Memorial Hospital, explains how the project will work, "Our community nurses already identify elderly patients likely to benefit from support and this funding means we can now offer them a referral to a luncheon club, where they will have a nourishing meal and a chance to meet people in a similar situation to their own.    They will also benefit from having their nutritional health monitored and access to specialist dietetic advice should it be needed. 

 "There is strong evidence that once patients are aware they may need to eat more, and perhaps different, food, and become involved in monitoring themselves, improvements follow.  There's also evidence of a close link between social isolation and undernutrition.  Our colleagues in the community are able to identify and support vulnerable patients but this project will offer another level of on-going help. We're very excited about getting things up and running."

 Ian Dove, business development manager, added, "We're very grateful to The Health Foundation for awarding funding to this project and recognising its huge opportunities. We're also grateful to Age UK Darlington for sharing with us their expertise in running lunch clubs."

Although planning is in the early stages, the lunch clubs will run during the late autumn.

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital