Malnutrition, and how HILS helped: Case Study

Mrs Bunn, aged 89, lives at home, and has cared for her disabled daughter Mary for 63 years. On joining our service, Mrs Bunn was at high risk of malnutrition, and losing weight. One year on, our team have helped Mrs Bunn achieve healthy weight gain, and she is now in better health to continue caring for her daughter – and herself!

Joining HILS:

Following an operation which meant she was unable to cook meals for herself or her daughter, Mrs Bunn first joined us in February 2017 – and has enjoyed our hot meals on wheels service ever since.

“The meals have been a great help in helping me to continue caring for my daughter, and they are delicious too!” Mrs Bunn says, “HILS Nutrition Team helped us a lot when I had lost a lot of weight following a difficult time; I am very grateful for them”.

When Mrs Bunn first met our Nutrition Team, she was at high risk of malnutrition – she had lost over 10% of her weight over a few months, and her BMI was just 18.7kg/m2. This is considered quite underweight; a healthy BMI for older adult ranges from 20 to 30.

Both Mrs Bunn and her daughter receive our hot lunches six days a week, but they prepare their own breakfast and supper. Mrs Bunn has always been slim with a small appetite, and found it difficult to put on weight – so we devised an action plan to help her.

How HILS helped:

Mini Meals –

We introduced Mrs Bunn to our range of Mini Meals, which are small, but energy dense food portions, designed for people with a reduced appetite.

Nutrition Boosts –

Small, high calorie snacks can be easier for people with small appetites. We provide Nutrition Boosts free of charge to clients we are concerned about, that are underweight or losing weight. These are a selection of additional snacks such as biscuits, cakes, drinks and fortified soups, delivered free alongside the daily lunchtime meals.

Follow-up visit every 3 months –

So that our Nutrition Team could monitor Mrs Bunn’s weight, and review her eating plan, our team arranged a follow-up visit every three months.

Fortified food tips –

Lastly, our team gave ideas on how Mrs Bunn could increase her calorie intake, without increasing portion sizes; such as adding full fat cheese, butter or cream to meals, or enriching milky drinks with dried skimmed milk powder.

One year later:

In just one year, Mrs Bunn is now considered to be at low risk of malnutrition, and is in a better health to continue caring for her daughter – and herself!

She now weighs 49.8KG, giving her a BMI of 20.7kg/m2! This may not seem like much for healthy adults, but for someone who struggles to even maintain a stable weight this is a huge success and will hopefully help her stay happy, healthy and independent for longer.

Looking ahead:

Our Nutrition Team will continue visiting Mrs Bunn every 6 months for the next year, to monitor her weight and keep an eye on her, whilst our drivers will give regular encouragement to keep eating for good health.

“It is a great privilege to be able to help people like Mrs Bunn. Many of the people we see don’t always think about food and drink as an important part of their overall wellbeing” says Kolsum, HILS Nutrition and Wellbeing visitor.

HILS Nutrition and Wellbeing Service:

Available free of charge to our meals on wheels clients, HILS unique nutrition team visit our clients to identify people who are at risk of malnutrition. If they are underweight, or losing weight unintentionally, we offer them tailored advice and sometimes give them extra high energy food. This free service is hugely important in targeting malnutrition, which is particularly prevalent among older people living at home. The team includes three community nutrition and wellbeing visitors, a dietitian, and a registered nutritionist.

Find out more about our Nutrition and Wellbeing Team: https://hertsindependentliving.org/nutrition-and-wellbeing/

Or contact our friendly support team on: 0330 2000 103.