Red pepper being cut
Recent estimates by the Lambeth and Southwark Action on Malnutrition Project (LAMP) team suggest approximately 16,000 adults in each of the two boroughs are likely to be malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Furthermore, we estimate that across Lambeth and Southwark more than 6,200 people aged 65 and over are at risk of malnutrition, including 850 in care homes. People who are malnourished see their GP twice as often, have three times the number of hospital admissions and stay in hospital three days longer than those who are adequately nourished (NICE, 2006).  

Timely and appropriate community-based nutritional interventions can reduce the amount of hospital admissions, GP consultations, pressure sores, infections and need for antibiotics. These reductions can help decrease excess costs by about 10%. Nutritional support can also improve patient-centred outcomes such as quality of life, mobility and mood.

In Southwark and Lambeth there are limited community-based dietetic resources, and so we tested two models of care to improve patient outcomes and reduce malnutrition. In July 2014 the Dietetics Team was recruited and started testing the two models of care; a direct clinical care model in Lambeth and a training and education model in Southwark.

The learning from the testing has been evaluated by the team, and as a result a revised model has been designed that will test a mixed model of direct care in clinics or people's homes and education. This test will be based within the Local Care Networks and run from July 2015 to March 2016. Based upon the success of addressing malnutrition within the local population, and thereby improving outcomes for people and reducing costs, the team will work with commissioners to determine if there is sufficient evidence to fund the service for 2016/17.