Improving nutrition in older adults can improve quality of life and support independence, increase muscle and bone mass, mobility and wound healing. Screening for nutrition risk can identify those in need of nutritional interventions. In this presentation, we will review previous research documenting the prevalence of moderate and high nutrition risk in Alberta as well as evidence that interventions are efficacious and save money. We will provide an overview of an Alberta initiative to support routine screening of older adults by diverse community organizations. We will demonstrate that our work with community partners, both within and outside the healthcare system, increased access to nutrition risk screening, referrals and community supports and that screening was both feasible and appropriate. We will identify gaps in communicating nutrition risk and providing referrals to older adults that still need to be solved. Finally, we will present tools we developed to support scale and spread of nutrition risk screening in the community.
Marlis Atkins is a Registered Dietitian with over 25 years of experience. She is as a Nutrition Services Director in Alberta Health Services overseeing strategic development of initiatives that impact the delivery of nutrition services provincially. Marlis is currently leading the AHS Malnutrition Strategy to raise awareness, prevent, detect and treat malnutrition across the continuum of care. She is also the lead for Nutrition Services as AHS implements one electronic medical record, Connect Care, for the province. This work presents new opportunities for embedding malnutrition strategies into the workflow of all health professionals and will assist with transitions of care for those identified as malnourished. Marlis started her career as a Home Care Dietitian which is where she developed her passion for working with seniors to help them stay strong and independent in their homes.