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Demanding more on nutritional care – a view from the BAPEN 2023 annual conference

British Specialist Nutrition Association (BSNA)

3 min read Partner content

On 28-29 November 700 delegates ascended to Edinburgh to attend the BAPEN 2023 Annual Conference.

The conference, hosted by the British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN), brought together leading groups of dietitians, doctors, scientists, gastroenterologists and pharmacists alongside patient representatives, and as the trade association representing specialist nutrition industry in the UK, BSNA was also in attendance.

The Conference followed on from the recent Malnutrition Awareness Week 2023, that highlights the scale of disease related malnutrition in the UK today, with more than 3 million people currently estimated to be malnourished, or at risk of malnutrition, around 98% of whom are living outside the hospital setting.

The effective management of malnutrition could also have a significant impact on the health economy as the annual health and social care costs associated with malnutrition are estimated at nearly £20 billion in England alone.

Malnutrition is both a cause and effect of ill health, impacting across a wide range of conditions from cancer, dementia, stroke, diabetes and COPD, to the increased risk for those over the age of 65, particularly if they are living in a care home or nursing home or have been admitted to hospital.

The BAPEN Annual Conference is an opportunity for clinicians across disciplines and disease areas to share the latest effective clinical practice, to ensure patients are given the most appropriate and well evidence nutritional care. Reflecting this, BAPEN 2023 saw sessions discussing ‘Optimising nutritional care – champions, culture and collaboration’, ‘NHS Impact ‘Improving Patient Care Together’, ‘Prescribing in Nutrition Support’, ‘Optimising Access for Nutrition Support’ as well as ‘Making the EFFORT to Optimise Nutrition on the ICU’and ‘the impact of the COVID pandemic four years on’. 

BAPEN 2023 truly highlighted how healthcare professionals and stakeholders can come together to improve practice and education. Delegates were able to learn from leading experts and discover new concepts that support clinical practice.

The take home message from BAPEN 2023 is that nutritional care needs to be optimised and more needs to be done to ensure patients receive the nutritional care and support they need: more to push nutrition higher up the agenda, more to screen and recognise malnutrition, more to educate healthcare professionals across all disciplines throughout health and social care on the benefits of good nutritional care and for policy makers to give greater priority to identifying and managing malnutrition.

BAPEN 2023 set a challenge to demand more action on malnutrition – we look forward to working with our colleagues involved in nutritional care to make the case for achieving the best possible nutritional care for every patient in every setting.

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