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Information for Care Homes

The Food First Team supports care homes for older people (with more than 10 beds) in Luton and South Bedfordshire, with the aim of delivering safe and high quality nutritional care for all residents. The team offer a unique training, audit and accreditation programme (based on CQC regulation 14 and NICE Quality Standard 24).  More recently the team have been involved in monthly Virtual Multi-Disciplinary meetings held in all care homes as part of the enhanced health in care homes framework.

Training

Training is delivered by both Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Assistant Practitioners to all care home workforce. Sessions cover:

  • How to identify malnutrition risk using the validated ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (‘MUST’)5.
  • How to manage someone at risk of malnutrition using a food based approach.
  • How to manage residents with special dietary requirements e.g. a texture modified diet, coeliac disease and diabetes.
  • How to provide a healthy, balanced diet if a fortified diet is required longer term.

We do not expect care homes to reach and maintain high standards of nutritional care with just one training session. The team keep in regular contact and offer homes individualised support dependant on their needs.

Care Home Audit and Award Scheme

The ‘Food First Care Home Award’ scheme was set up to reward and maintain best practice.

The Team audits nutritional care plans against the ‘Food First Care Home Award Expectations’, which is recognised by local councils and is based on CQC Regulation 14: Meeting nutritional and hydration needs. If standards are met, a Food First Certificate is issued (valid for one year). When a care home is certified, the Food First team will re-audit every six months to ensure high standards are maintained. For care homes that do not initially achieve certification, the team will provide on-going support to improve standards of nutritional care.

How and when to refer?

We accept referrals from care homes for older people in Luton and South Bedfordshire.

Care home staff in Luton and South Bedfordshire can refer directly into the service by completing the Food First referral form. To request a copy, please email food.first@nhs.net.

The following acts as a guide for when a referral may be beneficial for a resident in a care home:

  • A ‘MUST’ Score of 1 or above WITH evidence of the Food First approach implemented for at least 1 month (as per ‘MUST’ Management Guidelines) AND continued weight loss the following month.
  • A stable BMI of <18.5kg/m2, be motivated to gain weight and the Food First approach has not led to weight gain.
  • Been admitted to the Nursing/Residential Care Home already on a prescription of Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) (for example Aymes Shake, Complan Shake, Fortisip Compact, Forticreme or Calogen). This includes residents discharged from hospital on ONS or started by the GP without a recommendation from a dietitian.
  • A Grade 3 or 4 Pressure Ulcer/Non-healing wound OR has had Frequent Falls AND a MUST of 1 or above WITH evidence of at least 1 month of the Food First approach.

Additionally, we provide dietetic support to:

  • Care home residents’ requiring weight management support services who are unsuitable for MoreLife Bedfordshire or Total Wellbeing Luton.
  • Care home residents’ requiring nutrition support/weight management advice who have diabetes which is diet controlled OR managed with metformin, pioglitazone or gliptin AND HbA1c of <58mmol/mol.

Please note incomplete referral forms will not be accepted. All referrals must also include a 3 day food and fluid chart.


The Food First Team also provides the training and audit programme to care homes for older people in West-Mid Bedfordshire. However, the clinical dietetic service is provided by Bedford Hospital. Any referrals for the care homes in West-Mid Bedfordshire please contact:

Nutrition & Dietetics, Bedford Hospital: 01234 792171 or dietetics@bedfordhospital.nhs.uk


Training and audit for West-Mid Bedfordshire

The Food First Team also provides the training and audit programme to older people care homes in West-Mid Bedfordshire. However, the clinical service is provided by Bedford Hospital Dietetic Service. Any referrals for the care homes (below) in West-Mid Bedfordshire please contact:

Nutrition & Dietetics, Bedford Hospital: 01234 792171 or dietetics@bedfordhospital.nhs.uk

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