Mental Health Illness - Malnutrition Risk
This essay will identify a specific issue within older adult suffering from mental health illness as observed during my placement. My topic will be focused on older adult with mental health illness also suffering from malnutrition. Malnutrition can be defined as ‘a state of nutrition in which a deficiency or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effects on tissue and body structure and function and on clinical outcome”.
The essay will then discuss why I have considered my topic to be an issue, whilst using evidence based information to support my claims.
An analysis of different aspect of the issue will then demonstrate how it is observed in clinical practice. I will then reflect on the issue in relation to the course learning outcome. In this reflection i will be considering how I have met the learning objectives and what I could do differently next time I am faced with the same issue in practice. I will also explore on other aspects I will hence need to know and develop, which will be beneficial to me as a future registrant.
Finally my conclusion will bring together the discussion, analysis and reflection. I will also mention my achieved learning outcomes from completing this project.
Good nutritional statues is essential to promote good health and prevent ill health in older adults ( McLaren and Crawley 2000). Also, consideration of nutritional statues has been particularly recommended for order people ( Morley 1998 ). In general, older adults are at a high risk of malnutrition hence why the National Frame Work for Older People in England and Wales state that ‘nutritional risk screening should take place to identify those with characteristic of nutritional concern’ ( Department of Health 2001, pg. 54 ).
A cohort study found that among 579 adults ages 75 to 80 years, nearly 15 percent were at risk of malnutrition, based on their diet, weight and recent weight loss, and physical and mental well-being.
Women were more likely to be undernourished than men; nearly 19 percent were at risk of malnutrition, compared with almost 11 percent of men (Department of health 2001). In addition, men and women who were depressed or described themselves as unhealthy were more likely than others to become at risk of malnutrition over the next two to four years. Hence most older adults in general are at risk of malnutrition.
After reading these statistics, I consider malnutrition an issue because, there is evidence of an increase of the ageing population and also theories that suggest this increase will be continuous. the number of older people in the population is increasing rapidly, this is a matter of considerable concern. Malnutrition is already being addressed in older adults but as this essay will discuss, there are preventing factors, of which most are as a result of an intolerance due to natural progressive growth of the body or a determinant of series of ill health conditions.
As indicated above, the prevalence of malnutrition in free-living elderly population is estimated to be five to ten percent. Whilst those with ill health have a prevalence even range from thirty to sixty percent. Subsequent reasons why I think malnutrition is an issue is based on the statistics of elderly population with a mental health illness.
Depression affects 1 in 5 older people living in the community and 2 in 5 living in care homes. Adults In Later Life with Mental Health Problems, Mental (3rd edition) Oxford University Press (2002)
Dementia affects 5% of people over the age of 65 and 20% of those over 80. About 700,000 people in the UK have dementia (1.2% of the population) at any one time. National Institute For Clinical Excellence (2004)
Those suffering from mental illnesses are more vulnerable and are at a greater risk. The elderly are faced with so many challenges as they grow older and as part of their natural physiological and biological changes expected to occur. These may include poor dentition and changes in olfactory and gustatory sensation.
These changes also include mal or complete dysfunctions of vital organs in their bodies. As a result, hence why I have seen during my practice, countless amount of older adults with mental health illness prescribed so many medications to tackle other medical conditions which has causes them to be more frail. For example, conditions affecting their mobility and life post a major surgeries.
On the other hand, these individuals mental health problems and various characteristic of the condition, sometimes be the main causes for being malnourished due to disabilities and impairments of functional abilities. Mental health illnesses such as dementia ( of which the individuals quality of life is expected to deteriorate) causes state of forgetfulness and confusion, hence affecting their dietary intake and general oral care.
Also, their altered mental health state of mind is also a contributing factor because their abilities to decide and know what is best is disorientated. Finally, patients with more severe mental health disabilities such as learning disabilities and those with psychotic believes are faced with harder challenges.