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Brief intervention using the PaperWeight Armband to identify older people at risk of undernutrition in the community: a preliminary evaluation
  1. Steven Edwards1,
  2. Kirstine Farrer2,
  3. Emma Rose3,
  4. David Haynes3,
  5. John McLaughlin1
  1. 1School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Heath, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Nutrition and Dietetics Department, Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust, Salford, UK
  3. 3Age UK Salford, Salford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor John McLaughlin, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Heath, Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; John.Mclaughlin{at}manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

Background The risk of undernutrition in older adults in the community is high, with clear negative impacts on health and well-being. Nutritional screening is not routine and undernutrition often goes unrecognised. A community-level population public health intervention has the potential to target environments where the risk of undernutrition is highest. A programme has been established locally using the PaperWeight Armband as a simple nutritional screening tool in residents over 65 years, followed by supporting advice and community interventions. We undertook a nested pilot cohort evaluation within the wider programme to assess whether this could impact positively.

Methods Participants found to be at risk of undernutrition in the programme were recruited consecutively. Baseline weight and other descriptors including accommodation and frailty were recorded, and then again at 12 weeks.

Results 83 participants were recruited from a wide variety of community settings, age range 65–99 years; 75% were women. Sixty-seven recruits were followed up for 12-week review. Of these, 54 (81%) had a positive outcome, recording either weight gain (66%) or no weight loss (15%) at 12 weeks. Benefit was seen in all living circumstances but was least evident in the frailest participants.

Conclusion The intervention is associated with positive outcomes, with reduction or stabilisation of nutritional risk in the majority of participants studied. The intervention can be delivered in a wide range of settings and does not require healthcare professions for the screening. Longer and larger studies are now required to study the health, well-being and socioeconomic impacts of the intervention in depth.

  • screening
  • elderly
  • public health
  • nutrition

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Anonymised data can be obtained by reasonable request to the corresponding author.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Anonymised data can be obtained by reasonable request to the corresponding author.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors SE undertook the research and wrote the key content for the manuscript. ER is programme director of the Greater Manchester Nutrition and Hydration Programme and co-designed and led the overall programme. DH is chief executive of Age UK Salford, hosted and co-designed the programme. KF conceived the original armband intervention and co-designed the programme. JM co-designed and oversaw the evaluation. All coauthors reviewed and contributed to the final submission.

  • Funding The programme and the evaluation were funded as part of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care (GMHSC) Partnership Population Health Plan.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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