Food and drink advice to tackle health inequality in care settings

Question marks over care home dehydration tests
iStock: Jevtic

A resource outlining good practice on food and drink provision for people using care services has been produced by Lancaster University and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG).

The guide, which is aimed at frontline managers working for social care providers, addresses changes to organisational cultures and personal attitudes to food and drink provision. It also focuses on supporting people to eat high-quality food.

The resource is a response to the Learning Disability Mortality Review, which found a disparity between the age at death of people with learning disabilities and the general population of 23 years for men and 27 years for women.

Many of the causes of deaths in the review were preventable, with good nutrition and hydration fundamental to living a healthy life.

Its annual report report said: ‘Working with positive commitment to reduce health inequalities for people with learning disabilities must remain top of our agenda until we can see more substantial changes occur.’

As a result, the VODG partnered with Professor Chris Hatton at Lancaster University to explore how social care providers could support disabled people to maintain healthy levels of nutrition and hydration.

VODG chief executive Rhidian Hughes said: ‘As a group we are committed to reduce health inequalities experienced by disabled people. Our new guide draws together learning and good practice to prompt discussion and positive change.’

Prof Hatton said: ‘We hope this will help all services to ensure people are eating and drinking in ways that support people to lead healthier, happier and longer lives.’