Background & aims: Undernutrition in home care and care home settings is an unrecognized problem with significant consequences. The present work was edited after a forum concerning nutrition in these settings was held in Brussels in order to tackle the problem.
Methods: Various aspects of the question were addressed with the participation of scientific experts. The proceedings of the forum were edited and completed by a review of previously published material.
Results: Prevalence of undernutrition in home care and care home settings varies between 15% and 65%. Causes of undernutrition are various: medical, social, environmental, organizational and financial. Lack of alertness of individuals, their relatives and health-care professionals play an important role. Undernutrition enhances the risk of infection, hospitalization, mortality and alter the quality of life. Moreover, undernutrition related-disease is an economic burden in most countries. Nutritional assessment should be part of routine global management. Nutritional support combined with physical training and an improved ambiance during meals is mandatory. Awareness, information and collaboration with all the stakeholders should facilitate implementation of nutritional strategies.
Conclusions: Undernutrition in home care and care home settings is a considerable problem and measures should be taken to prevent and treat it.