Improving nutrition for older people in acute settings

This learning module has been accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and was last updated in 2016.

All modules are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Duration: 01:00:00 Type: CPD modules Level: Qualified Nurses, Students


Carolyn Best, Nutrition nurse specialist, nutrition and dietetic department, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Winchester, England.
Helen Hitchings, Nutrition and Dietetic Service lead, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basingstoke, England.

Short description

This module offers advice on how to identify older inpatients at risk of malnutrition and offers strategies to help nurses improve the nutritional status and hydration of such patients.

Detailed description

Older people have an increased risk of becoming malnourished when they are ill. Admission to hospital may affect their nutritional intake and nutritional status. Nutrition screening and implementation of nutrition care plans can help minimise the risk of malnutrition in acute care settings, if used effectively. The nutritional care provided to older inpatients should be timely, co-ordinated, reviewed regularly and communicated effectively between healthcare professionals and across shifts. This learning module explores what malnutrition means, why older people in hospital might be at risk of malnutrition and the effect hospital admission might have on nutrition and fluid intake. It makes suggestions for addressing these issues, encourages nurses to look at the nutritional care provided in their clinical area, to reflect on what they do well and consider what can be done to improve patients' experiences.