Patients in East Staffs supported with cooking at home to tackle malnutrition

People in East Staffordshire who have been referred to Virgin Care’s Nutrition Support Service because they are at risk of malnutrition, are being offered the opportunity to have a food preparation demonstration in the comfort of their own home.

The Nutrition Support service provided by Virgin Care supports patients who have a very low body weight, are also experiencing unplanned weight loss and are at risk of not getting the nutrients they need to remain healthy.

Patients are often prescribed extra supplements by their GP in the form of high calorie and high protein drinks or puddings to add to their usual diet in order to achieve healthy weight gain.

The new service being offered by Virgin Care is to show these patients how they can make their own supplements at home using everyday ingredients readily available in shops and supermarkets.

Patients are given a demonstration in their own kitchens and left with recipe cards to put their new skills into practice. Recipes include fortified milk that can be added to cereals, drinks and other food such as mash potato, as well as recipes for milkshakes, soups and puddings. Fortified milk provides an extra 600 kcals and 40g protein which is an excellent foundation to start improving a patient’s nutrition.

The home-made supplements offer more calories per serving than the prescribeable supplements.  So not only do they provide more nourishment but they are more palatable as they use natural every day ingredients and can be adapted to suit patients’ personal tastes. They are also a much cheaper option as prescribed supplements cost GPs around £2.10 per bottle to prescribe.

Gillian Rudge, Community Dietitian for Virgin Care, said: “We hope that this new initiative helps people to take back some control of their own wellbeing. By giving demonstrations to people in their own homes, we can show them just how easy it is to make their own supplements using normal everyday ingredients.

“By adding extra goodness to the food that they already enjoy we hope to support patients enjoy the eating experience once more.”

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