A flagship service, led by health professionals at County Durham
and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, to tackle undernutrition in
health and social care settings is being recognised with two
Many malnourished older people are more vulnerable to
life-threatening disease, but in County Durham and Darlington,
dietitians have developed a pioneering programme to keep elderly
people fed, healthy and disease resistant.
Focus on Undernutrition (FoU), developed by the dietetics
service of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, has
been recognised nationally for its remarkable results and is now
being offered to other UK health providers.
It recently was awarded the title of "Nutrition resource of the
year" by CN and dietitian Rachael Masters, who leads the eight
strong FoU team, was awarded "Community nutrition professional of
Rachael said: "I am amazed that what started as an idea over a
cup of coffee has been so well received across the UK. The
feedback has been phenomenal, from how simple it is to use, to how
it has significantly improved nutritional screening. The ethos of
Focus on Undernutrition is to make the identification and treatment
of undernutrition simple to ensure it is embedded into everyday
working practices in health and social care settings.
"I feel very honoured to win the community nutritional
professional of the year award for the work I have achieved with
the FoU service. If someone had told me 11 years ago that the pilot
project I commenced as a blank piece of paper would have evolved to
the service we deliver today as a team I would never have believed
them. I had a vision for FoU but the service is now exceeding those
expectations and the team are still continuing to develop the
service further. I am very passionate about tackling undernutrition
in the community and that "passion" has won many of the barriers we
have faced over the years. We are delighted that FoU training and
other resources are now available for national use in other
organisations though licensing."
The FoU service delivers accredited training and support to
health and social care community staff on how to identify and treat
undernutrition. Treatment is by promoting food first approach
followed by the appropriate prescribing of oral nutritional
The initiative has trained more than 350 cooks in 75 care homes
in County Durham to prepare food that is appealing, rich in
nutrients and easy to eat.
It has also trained more than 3,000 staff in the community,
resulting in thousands of vulnerable people maintaining or gaining
The training covers the nutritional needs of older people, how
to identify and treat undernutrition, how to implement
undernutrition screening programme into a care home. It involves
issues ranging from menu planning to preparing fortified foods,
pureed and moulded meals and the use of snacks and high-calorie
The innovative work of FoU has enabled County Durham and
Darlington to lead the way nationally on identifying and treating
undernutrition from a regional perspective.
The service is continuously evolving and is now developing two
packages for use in care homes and NHS community staff which mimic
the accredited distance learning and master classes presently
delivered in these areas.
Due to the national interest in the service, FoU is now
available nationally as a toolkit to implement the service into
another organisations via licensing.
Published: 28 September 2011
'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly,
efficiently and professionally with full explanations and
compassion from all staff involved'.
Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital