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Malnutrition Amongst Family / Kinship Carers : Just How Many ... High Time To Find Out ? - Carers UK Forum

Malnutrition Amongst Family / Kinship Carers : Just How Many ... High Time To Find Out ?

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
A search will reveal several reports , on this site , and external ones , dealing with malnutrition issues , but almost all focus on the caree and not the carer.

Last report by the Voice was in 2012 , anyone aware of any subsequent reports looking into this same problem , but with carers themselves ?

Given the economic climate , the phenomenal growth in foodbanks , is it not about time that this Issue was given some priority ? The number of carers using food banks probably exceeds 100,000 as I type , and will continue to increase as Austerity grips even tighter.

First raised in 2004 /2005 ? ( Thread on the old PRT forum ) , hardly any reponse beyond " You've got to be joking ? " from certain quarters but , thankfully , not by a local locum. Shortly thereafter , one Practice introduced automatic health checks for carers , including one specifically looking for signs of malnutrition.

Fast forward to 2017.

Lack of finances clearly a major factor beyond the usual deniability statements issued by the System in an attempt in cover up the effects of their own practices / policies.

What's the state of play today ?
Only one article picked up ... Bapen Partnership , and a malnutrition toolkit :

http://www.bapen.org.uk/screening-and-m ... ucing-must

Guide is available in .PDF format via a link on the front page.

Any reader with experience of this toolkit ?

Somewhat disturbing , nothing seems have been done for a decade of more ?

Carees yes but not carers themselves.

The Survey underway , and detailed in a separate thread ... nothing in there to identify problems associated with malnutrition , especially given the number of carers needing food banks to survive.

And still nothing on food banks anywhere else on this site except from the separate thread I created back on the 24 October 2016 :

http://www.carersuk.org/forum/news-camp ... od%20banks

Was I the only one with concerns ?????

Now nearer to 100,00 of our fellow carers ?????

And just for how many years has this " Problem " been overlooked ?

If nothing else , this Issue must ( Not should ) be explored at the earliest possible time.

After all , the System needs carers like us to prop up the social care sector.

What use are we to it if we are too exhaused to continue rowing the SC Titanic towards that iceberg , looming larger and larger by the hour !

More monies = more food and improved diets ... simples ?

Not for some !!!

Priorities ... yes ... there are priorities , and there ARE priorities.

Still doubtung ?

NHS Nursing Choice : Nursing times guide to malnutrition ... makes interesting reading :

https://www.nursingtimes.net/malnutriti ... 11.article

I quote from just one section :

In the UK, it is estimated that, at any one time, at least two million people are affected by malnutrition.

Anyone can become malnourished if, over a prolonged period of time, they do not consume enough food to fulfil their nutritional needs, or if they have an unhealthy diet. However, the groups who are most at risk from malnutrition are:

the elderly - particularly those who are in hospital, or institutionalised,

people with low incomes, or those who are socially isolated,

people with chronic (long-term) disorders - for example, eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and people who are recovering from a serious illness, or condition - particularly those with a condition that affects their ability to eat, such as a stroke.

Clear enough ???
Interesting ... just checked both the Carers Uk and Carer Trust sites on the subject of health.

No mention of malnutrition in carers ... advice on good eating and dieting but nothing on what one should do if finances are not available ... I read that as assuming any reader has the resources to follow the guidelines.

If in doubt , recommendation is to seek advice from one's doctor.

If I'm wrong , I apologise unreservedly !

Highly probable that a doctor will prescribe a diet consisting of a range of foods.

Fine , but what if the patient has no spare cash to pay for them ?

Question ... what are the guidelines for those facing a daily choice of to eat or heat ?

Answer ... none.

What message does that send out to our fellow carers facing that daily choice ?

Even a " Sorry , can't help " type message would be better than nothing at all ?

Again , a rhetorical questions .. you the reader , can draw your own conclusion.


Trussell Trust has often been mentioned by me.

I am sure that their founders wished to never having to launch Trussells in the UK back in early 2000s !!!

From day one , they had no idea that their initial mission would take such a dramatic turn.

For the million or so using the food banks , a decision that proved essential come 2017.

Their history and what they have achieved is more than worthy to be mentioned on this thread.

5 / 10 minutes well spent following their progress and , the phone call that changed everything :


A dilemma for ALL supporting organisations for both us and our carees alike.

Either ... roll up your sleeves and link with Trussells

Or ... ignore them , and hope the problem facing many of your members goes away .....

There is no realistic third option.

6 million carers / a minimum of the same number of carees ... 12 million+.

Put to the vote by carers / carees ?

Less than 1% to ignore the problem ?

Recount surely ?

Sorry your Lordships and ladies , it's now 2017.

Another problem will gradually be tackled ... a very big one ... identifying unknown carers , a mere 5.5 million or so ... covered across several exisings threads.

Everyone of our supporting organisations could learn from Trussells , and the way they tackle issues / problems.

Could Trussells say the same about our supporting organisations ?????

Their next logical step ?

Linking local gp surgeries with local food banks .... pilot schemes , then rolled out ?

Then ?

Wherever the need takes them.

Even as extensions to supermarkets ?

Evolve or stagnate ?

Trussells .... " Sorry , that word ... stagnate ... we can't find that in our dictionary ! "

Watch this space ....

Cases of other diseases rife in the Victorian era including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have also increased since 2010, although cases of TB, measles, typhoid and rickets have fallen.

Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust, which runs a nationwide network of foodbanks, said they saw “tens of thousands of people who have been going hungry, missing meals and cutting back on the quality of the food they buy”.

“We meet families from across the UK struggling to put enough food on the table and, at the extreme end, you get people who are malnourished,” he said. “We often see parents who are going without food so that they can feed their children, and these parents often struggle to afford enough nutritious food for their children, too. We don’t think anyone should have to go hungry in the UK, which is why we’re working to engage the public, other charities and politicians across parties to find solutions to the underlying causes of food poverty.”

Dianne Jeffrey, who chairs the Malnutrition Task Force, an independent expert group, and charity Age UK, said the rise in hospital admissions for malnutrition was “deeply distressing”.

“Older people and professionals often incorrectly assume that losing weight and having a reduced appetite are just a normal part of ageing,” she said. “Much malnutrition is preventable, so it is totally unacceptable that estimates suggest there are at least one million older people malnourished or at risk of malnourishment. Cuts to social care mean many older people are being left to cope on their own.”

The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that in worst-affected areas – Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – 2.4 people out of every 100,000 were admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of malnutrition.

Admissions for malnutrition nationally were highest among men in their sixties, followed by those aged over 80, and among women in their fifties, followed by those in their forties. Patients admitted with gout have also increased by 60.5 per cent, from 65,387 from August 2010 to July 2011 to 104,972 in the same period in 2014 to 2015.

...... and carers ?

A malnutrition fact guide :

http://www.malnutritiontaskforce.org.uk ... factsheet/

Carers UK found that 60% of carers worry about the nutrition of the person they care for. One is six carers is looking after someone at real risk of malnutrition but do not have nutritional support of any kind

...... and carers ?

Ongoing Survey ... foodbanks , no mention ... malnutrition , no mention ....

Minimum of 100,000 carers now using food banks , malnutrition numbers unknown but rising ....
In an attempt to expand this further , has any reader been checked for malnutrition during a routine or other health check ?

Carees yes but ... carers ?
Actually Chris the most often mentioned dietary problem on here is "comfort eating" and the resultant weight gain amongst Carers :shock:
Thanks Susie ... comfort eating ?

I presume junk food , or what passes for that generalisation ?

Posting is aimed at the low millions where eating and / or heating is a daily choice ... the problem being that most would tend not have Internet access in the first place.

Even on the latest Survey doing the rounds , no mention ... which would lead Carers UK itself to assume there was no problem !

Therein lies another problem ... if one does not ask a question ....

Anyone want to place a bet on that ?

If it were possible , I would accept one member for every 50 carers suffering from malnutrition , possibly as high as 90 .... one bet I would be pleased to lose !

Fair bet ?

If it is NOT a problem , what have you to lose ?
Malnutrition most certainly should include comfort eating. Whether caused by stress, or lack of self care, it's still malnutrition. Sugary starchy foods are fattening, but also quick easy solutions when you get hungry and don't have the time or incliation to cook a "proper" meal. Then of course there's the lack of free time and motivation to exercise.

I've spent most of the week sat down writing things related to my son, making phone calls related to my son. One call to the LA took an hour due to innefficiency and incompetence. Effectively, that's most of my "free" time for the week gone.

Knowing all about healthy eating is one thing, but as carers it's really difficult when we are fed up, frustrated and depressed.
Trawl through the news archives still reveals nothing on the problem of malnutrition amongst carers themselves as opposed to various articles on our carees.

A major Issue which will only worsen if not highlighted , and subsequenty , action taken.

After all , the System does not want our £ 132 BILLION saving to be under threat if we are not fit enough to continue to care , does it ?

Needless to say , diets and feeding habits are one concern , having enough money to eat reasonably well every day is another.

Interlinked ?

Depression also mention ... caring tasks / worry over lack of money / support services / isolation / loneliness ... that word INTERLINKED again.

Nice job linking all those together to see the big picture once the Survey is ready to be analysed ?

Malnutrition ?

No questions on that on the Survey ....
I'd definitely agree with comfort eating leading to overweight and obesity.

But the causes are 'psychological' rather than 'financial' - the latter presumably accounts for 'under-nutrition'.

Eating is often the only 'pleasure' that a carer can have. The rest of their life belongs to their caree.