Oral nutritional support may be required for people who are unable to gain sufficient nutrition through normal consumption of food and drink. This may be provided as food and fluid of adequate quantity and quality in an environment that is conducive to eating and drinking, or with the provision of appropriate support for people who can potentially chew and swallow but are unable to feed themselves.
The provision of an adequate oral nutrient intake is essential to promote healing post-surgery or recovery from illness. It should therefore be an essential part of the care provided to patients in hospital and in the community.
Two studies over the past 10 years have identified that the real threat of developing malnutrition in the UK, although often overshadowed by the publicity around obesity.1,2 Approximately one million people over the age of 65 and living in the community are at risk of becoming malnourished or in a malnourished state,1 while approximately 93% of people at risk of malnutrition live in the community.2