NNUH dieticians devise training to help understanding of malnutrition

An interactive training package, suitable for anyone in a caring role who needs to screen for and manage malnutrition, has been created by two Registered Dieticians based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

‘MUST’learn is the brainchild of Fiona Scott and Rachel Lee and is a ‘teach yourself’ package which has been created in an accessible format for a wide range of carers and health professionals. It provides guidance on using the well-established ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (‘MUST’).

The package has been developed in conjunction with Norfolk Adult Social Services and with assistance from Health Enterprise East (HEE), the regional NHS Innovation Hub for the East of England.

Users of ‘MUST’learn can work at their own pace through the CD Rom which comprises learning information backed up with exercises to allow practice and testing of the knowledge gained. There are also assessment exercises and when the training has been successfully completed, the user can obtain a certificate.

The benefits are that users will have increased confidence in assessing nutritional status, identifying cases of possible malnutrition, treating malnutrition early and thereby avoiding unnecessary referrals to the dietician or hospital and they will know they are following best practice.

The training package has been endorsed by The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) which devised ‘MUST’ in 2003.

Tracy Coultas, Innovation Manager – Publications & Training Aids at HEE said: “This new package fills an important gap in furthering the understanding of malnutrition. A wide range of carers and health professionals deal with this condition on a daily basis and this interactive ‘teach yourself’ package provides both the information required and the flexibility for users.”

Fiona Scott and Rachel Lee added: “Having been the authors of ‘MUST’ Teach last year, which is aimed at registered dieticians and those with specialist nutrition knowledge, we realised that a training tool for other groups of people working in caring roles was also needed. Early feedback has been excellent and we are delighted that ‘MUST’learn has already been endorsed by BAPEN”.

Three million people are living at risk of malnutrition in the UK. Malnutrition has an adverse effect on health, wellbeing and ability to work, making sufferers more prone to infection and illness. It is currently under-recognised and under-treated, leading to disease, delayed recovery, more visits to the GP and longer and more frequent hospital stays. Malnutrition currently costs the country in the region of £13 billion per year.

‘MUST’learn costs £29.99 and is available from www.mustlearn.org.uk

Friday 12th of November 2010 10:00:56 AM