A malnutrition helpline has gone live in Leeds this month – giving people in the city crucial advice if they have concerns about not eating and drinking enough.
The dedicated phone line will be operated between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s Adult Nutrition and Dietetic Service, with a particular focus on over-65s.
Callers will be asked a few simple questions before being offered dietetic support on a range of issues, including poor appetite, difficulties affording food, dehydration and social isolation at meal times.
It is part of a prevent malnutrition programme being run by Leeds City Council’s public health service following an assessment of malnutrition and dehydration among older people in Leeds.
Malnutrition is a lack of good nutrition caused by not having enough to eat or not getting the essential nutrients you need to keep healthy.
It is a common clinical and public health problem, affecting over 1 in 10 people over the age of 65.
People who are at risk include those who are living alone or less able to get out and about, those who require help shopping and preparing food and people with certain conditions including dementia, depression, low mood and dental problems.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council executive member for Adults and Health said:
“We want to make Leeds the best city to grow old in and as part of this approach we have focused programmes to support healthy ageing.
"Tackling malnutrition and dehydration among older people is one of our priorities and we are pleased to launch the malnutrition helpline to support people, their carers and professionals with this important issue.”
Hannah Diskin, Community Dietitian with Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said:
“It’s not something that just affects developing countries. It is something that affects us in Leeds and it is a real problem - particularly for older people. Anyone is at risk of malnutrition if they haven’t got access to the right food or aren’t able to eat enough.
“Overweight people can be malnourished. They don’t have to be underweight and wasting away. Malnutrition delays wound healing and can put people at risk of pressure ulcers and falls so it’s really important that we tackle it.”
If you or someone you care about is struggling to eat or drink properly, you can ring the helpline on 0113 843 0905 between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can email at any time of the day – the address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
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