Malnutrition and unintentional weight loss are endemic in older populations, with most cases being preventable. Ideally, every older adult should be assessed regularly for nutritional risk and then, receive all services and care they need to minimize this risk. In Quebec, care and services are offered by both the healthcare system and community-based organizations. However, they are underused and not consolidated in an integrated network, so needs remain unmet and nutritional risk often not addressed. Volunteers of community-based organizations, such as Meals-on-Wheels or Little Brothers, are in regular contact with older adults at nutritional risk. They can then detect warning signs such as food insecurity. However, they often do not have knowledge on how to address these warning signs. In response to this need, two initiatives have been launched in 2021 to raise awareness about malnutrition in community-based organizations in Quebec, as well as to educate staff on how they can help older adults to seek the services and care they need to minimize their nutritional risk. This presentation will describe these initiatives, which bring together scientists, public health and healthcare professionals, stakeholders and volunteers of community-based organizations, and community-dwelling older adults. By the end of this presentation, participants should be able to: 1) describe the extent of community services available to older adults to address nutritional risk factors in Quebec; and 2) recognize the advantages of a co-creation process, based on both experiential and scientific knowledge, to develop tangible and highly usable “products” that might help prevent malnutrition.
Dr Nancy Presse is a Registered Dietitian and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Community Health Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Sherbrooke. She is the Director of the Laboratory on Nutrition in Aging and Geriatric Nutrition at the Research Centre on Aging (Sherbrooke, QC) and the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (Montreal, QC). Her research focuses mainly on screening, diagnosing and identifying the risk factors of vitamin B12 deficiency in older adults, on the prevention and treatment of unintentional weight loss among residents of nursing homes and long-term care settings, as well as on identifying older adults at nutritional risk in the community. Notably, she is conducting the experimental and implementation studies of the “Nutrition as Medication” approach in a number of Quebec long-term care hospitals. Since January 2018, she ensures the general management of the NuAge Database and Biobank, a research infrastructure aiming to share with the scientific community high quality data and biological samples from a cohort of 1753 older adults followed for four consecutive years. Dr Presse is a Junior 2 Research Scholar of the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (2022-2026).