Category: Health and Health Care
Older adult malnutrition is a growing crisis in America today. The cost of disease-associated malnutrition in older adults is high—estimated to be $51.3 billion per year. Up to one out of two older adults is at risk of becoming malnourished, yet insufficient attention is given to preventing or treating the condition. Malnutrition is a patient safety risk and can have deleterious effects on older adult public health, especially when other conditions are present. But, it is also preventable. With effective screening, assessment, diagnosis, and intervention, malnutrition can be identified and addressed to effectively reduce mortality rates, readmission rates, and complication rates. To support development of comprehensive strategies to improve malnutrition care across care settings for older adults, a Malnutrition Quality Collaborative was established with multiple stakeholders in nutrition, healthy aging, and food security. The Collaborative was convened by the Defeat Malnutrition Today Coalition and had two main objectives: to advance health and quality-of-life outcomes among older adults by increasing national awareness of malnutrition and to engage national, state, and local healthcare stakeholders to take action to better prevent, identify, and treat malnutrition. The final report was published as the National Blueprint: Achieving Quality Malnutrition Care for Older Adults. The Blueprint is unique in that it presents recommendations both by key stakeholder groups (including governmental organizations, healthcare practitioners and institutions, older adults and their families, and public and private payers) and by specific care settings (acute, post-acute, and community care). It represents the first comprehensive preventive plan to establish a consistent, high-quality standard of malnutrition care in the U.S. and organizations across the continuum of care are now using its strategies and recommendations.
Defeat Malnutrition Today
Meredith Ponder Whitmire is the Senior Associate at Matz, Blancato and Associates. She is the Federal Policy and Advocacy Manager for the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) and the Federal Policy and Media Coordinator for the Elder Justice Coalition. She also directs policy for a senior malnutrition coalition, Defeat Malnutrition Today. In these roles, she provides policy analysis and direction for and advocates on behalf of a wide variety of aging topics, including nutrition, elder justice, and community-based services. Previously, Meredith worked for the National Council on Aging as a legal fellow and a summer associate. She has also worked for other non-profit organizations and on Capitol Hill. She holds a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA from Georgetown University.
Defeat Malnutrition Today
Bob Blancato is the President of Matz, Blancato and Associates, located in Washington, D.C. He is the National Coordinator of the bipartisan 3000-member Elder Justice Coalition. He also serves as the Executive Director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs.
Bob has more than 20 years of service in the Congressional and Executive branches, including the senior staff of the U.S. House Select Committee on Aging and an appointment by President Clinton to be Executive Director of the 1995 White House Conference on Aging, one of four Conferences he has participated in.
Bob’s volunteer leadership includes currently serving as the Chair of the Board of the American Society on Aging and on the National Board of AARP. He also serves on the Board of the National Council on Aging. In September 2015, Bob was appointed to the Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.
Bob has also served as volunteer State President of AARP Virginia and as president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
Bob is a contributing blogger to the Huffington Post and Next Avenue, writing on aging issues.
He holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MPA from American University. Bob has won numerous awards for advocacy. In 2011, he was knighted by the Italian Republic.