Nutrition Resources

01 September 2020
This article discusses the assessment and management of vitamin B12 deficiency. The author examines the causes of this condition, such as pernicious anaemia, and the different methods that can be used to manage it, for example vitamin B12 supplements, diet and medication review. Primary care nurses are frequently responsible for ordering blood tests and managing B12 deficiency. However, there is a lack of consistency in the management of the condition, partly because there are a number of different blood tests that can be performed, not all of which are available in every hospital laboratory.
17 July 2019

Nutrition is an important modifiable factor for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Being overweight brings breathing difficulties and being malnourished leads to poorer outcomes. Maintaining a healthy weight and a nutritious diet is a central part of COPD management. This article equips general practice nurses (GPNs) and patients with the tools needed to assess and promote a healthy weight and diet while living with COPD. It explains the reasons for malnutrition and how these can be avoided. Helping people improve their diet as well as the role of oral nutritional supplements (ONS) are explored, and specific issues, such as vitamin D deficiency, are discussed.

10 August 2018
A woman’s average age for her periods to end, marking the menopause, is 51. Roughly, 80% of women suffer from some menopausal symptoms which last for two years on average. Lowered oestrogen levels are responsible for most menopausal symptoms; the most common in western culture being hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbance. Weight gain that is often associated with the menopause can further add to the development of health conditions, such as heart disease, and make certain symptoms, such as hot flushes, worse. The combination of a healthy diet, in particular with a low glycaemic load, keeping active, and avoiding weight gain can help alleviate or reduce severity of menopause symptoms. Some foods such as soya products, oily fish, oats, possibly probiotics, and milk products or their alternatives, can help with a number of symptoms. More evidence is gathering for how a Mediterranean diet can help with symptoms.
Topics:  Glycaemic load
14 March 2017

Malnutrition (undernutrition) affects three million people in the UK (Brotherton et al, 2010) and is responsible for health and social care costs exceeding £19 billion annually in England alone, half of which is due to people over 65 (Elia, 2015). While it is accepted that good nutrition is important to maintain health, there is a general lack of responsibility and ownership around the problem of undernutrition in primary care. Lack of understanding, including how to identify and treat it is also widespread. Despite National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines stating that all healthcare professionals should be involved in nutritional screening and treatment (NICE, 2006), there are barriers stopping primary care nurses from screening, i.e. challenges of organisational culture and competing priorities (Green and James, 2013; Green et al, 2014).

Topics:  Malnutrition
23 September 2016

A review of a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by the general practice nurse (GPN) will usually include measures such as spirometry, smoking cessation advice, and a check of inhaler technique to name just a few. However, it also provides an ideal opportunity to assess the patient’s nutritional status and determine the level of risk this may pose. This article explores the need for nutritional assessment, how to stratify risk, how to plan interventions and, importantly, how to incorporate this vital element of care into everyday interactions with this group of patients.

Topics:  Goal setting
22 May 2015

Statistics suggest that one in four adults are obese, and up to 33% of school-aged children are overweight or obese (National Obesity Forum, 2015). Thus, on a daily basis, it is likely that general practice nurses (GPNs) will engage in consultations with patients who are overweight or obese, quite often while presenting for advice for another condition. This article explores how to broach this sensitive issue and the GPN’s role to reduce weight stigma in line with the new Nursing and Midwifery Council Code (NMC, 2015). Practical advice for GPNs to support patients in managing their weight, and identifying appropriate onward referrals, including for bariatric surgery and eating disorders, will also be discussed.

Topics:  Communication