Katherine Ford, PhD, RD

Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
University of Waterloo

Nutrition-focused strategies to prevent and treat malnutrition in older community-dwelling adults and resulting positive outcomes on the health care system

Almost 25% of Canadians will be aged 65 or older by 2030, and 70% of older Canadians are living with frailty and malnutrition. Frailty and malnutrition pose clinical and economic consequences to the health system, thus it is important to identify feasible approaches to effectively reduce the burden of malnutrition and its related consequences. Recent research indicates that community-based nutrition programs can improve nutritional and functional status outcomes in older adults, which in turn can reduce the burden on the health care system. This session will review evidence from international clinical trials and explore their applications in the Canadian primary care setting. By the end of this presentation, participants should be able to: (1) Define the health and economic impact of malnutrition in community-dwelling older adults; (2) Recall the main outcomes of evidence-based nutrition approaches to treat malnutrition in community-dwelling older adults; (3) Recognize that nutrition-focused Quality Improvement Programs (QIPs) can minimize the burden of malnutrition on the health care system; and (4) Identify opportunities to integrate nutrition care strategies and policies that have positive impact on patients’ health and health economic outcomes.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Dr. Katherine Ford is a Registered Dietitian and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Health System Impact Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Waterloo. She holds a Mitacs Elevate Fellowship in conjunction with the Canadian Nutrition Society. During her fellowship, Katherine is supporting the Canadian Malnutrition Taskforce with integrating a malnutrition care standard in Canadian hospitals and advancing the health policy landscape for malnutrition. Prior to this work, Katherine completed her PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Alberta. Katherine utilizes her experience as Dietitian to bring a clinical perspective to her research and is interested in better understanding the impact of nutritional assessment and interventions on patient-oriented outcomes and how to spread and scale effective interventions focused on improving malnutrition care.