Concurrent Sessions

D5 – Did you know a malnourished senior is 73% more likely to fall than a well nourished senior?

Theme 5. Why hasn’t this expanded: scalable pilot programs

  • Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
  • Concurrent Session D
  • Time: 9:45-10:30am
  • Room: Pier 7 & 8
  • Style: Panel Discussion (in addition to providing information, panelists interact with one another to explore/debate a topic)
  • Focus: Balance between both (e.g. Presentation of a best-practice guideline that combines research evidence, policy issues and practical steps for implementation)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.), Clinical providers, Administrative staff, Representatives of stakeholder/partner organizations

Learning Objectives

Participants will walk away with:

  1. a) An awareness of the impact of malnutrition on an individual’s quality of life, chronic disease management, risk of falls, hospitalizations and transitions to long term care
  2. b) An awareness of the impact of malnutrition on the health care system and what we can do in primary care to make a difference
  3. c) An appreciation of the importance of early detection and intervention to prevent and correct malnutrition
  4. d) Nutrition screening tools and interprofessional clinical care pathway to use in your practice
  5. e) Lessons learned from other family health teams across the province on how to launch a successful screening program.


Bill is a 72 year old fellow who recently lost his wife to cancer and hasn’t been eating well. He is relying on quick meals such as tea and toast and processed foods, which has led to a 30 pound unintentional weight loss. Unfortunately, no one has noticed about his weight loss since he has always been “on the heavy side”. Bill has fallen several times at home and finally ends up in the hospital after falling on the stairs. He eventually gets discharged home.

In Canada, one out of three seniors is at nutritional risk and one out of two adults is malnourished upon hospital admission.  Malnutrition in seniors is happening in our communities but often going un-noticed negatively impacting on quality of life, risk of falls and hospitalizations, longer hospital stays and  re-admissions.

Despite evidence of the benefit of nutrition counselling and team support to improve health outcomes and reduce hospital admissions, an environmental scan of 184 family health teams (FHTs) in Ontario identified no active nutrition screening programs, and extremely low referrals for malnutrition nutrition counselling. The aim of 4 FHT Malnutrition Screening project is to embed nutrition screening into clinical practice and implement clinical care pathways to detect and manage senior malnutrition in family practice to reduce falls and hospitalization rates due to malnutrition.


  • Michele MacDonald Werstuck, RD MSc CDE Nutrition Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor McMaster University, Hamilton Family Health Team
  • Amy Waugh, RD CDE, Upper Grand Family Health Team
  • Denis Tsang RD CDE


  • Jennifer McGregor RD CDE Niagara FHT
  • Denis Tsang RD CDE