Nutrition is top priority for elderly

A leading care group which is pioneering a new care-with-meals initiative in Lancashire is reassuring its customers of the nutrition in its meals following a shock report about malnutrition in the elderly.

The Department of Health has said it is "unacceptable" for patients to go hungry or be malnourished in hospitals, and has increased the number of unannounced inspections by the care watchdog the Care Quality Commission to tackle the issue.

A shock report by the Sunday Express alleged that 1,165 people have starved to death in NHS hospitals over the past four years.

Stephen Emmanuel, chairman of the ICare Group - which has launched a new Peace of Mind initiative in Lancashire combining a level of care with meals - emphasised the importance of nutritional value.

He said: "Our meals come ready-cooked or frozen and cover requirements for all tastes as well as all religions and cultures. The nutritional value meets the highest recommended standards from traditional favourites to speciality dishes.

"The menus have a wide selection, using wholesome ingredients and delivered by care aware community assistants.”

In 2011, 43 patients starved to death and 291 died in a state of severe malnutrition, according to the newspaper, while the number of patients discharged from hospital suffering from malnutrition doubled to 5,558.

All ICare meals meet the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) guidelines and cater for customers with special dietary requirements including diabetic, low fat, low carbohydrate, reducing moderate salt, high-energy, gluten-free, lactose-free, easy-chew or pureed meals. The company also caters for customers who want their meals free of tomato, egg, onion and garlic.

There are 17,500 people over the age of 65 in Lancashire, and a similar number of people living in Lancashire who suffer from dementia of varying ages.

At the present time there are more than 11,000 people over 75 living alone in Central Lancashire, a figure that is predicted to rise to more than 15,000 by 2020.

For details of the new Peace of Mind initiative please see www.icaregroup.co.uk or tel 0845 604 1125.