Barts Health dietitians get to grips with new “arthritis gloves”

18 Jul 2016

We’ve funded new “arthritis gloves” and “visual impairment goggles” that are helping dietitians at Barts Health better understand the challenges older people face when eating and drinking.

Barts Health staff member opening milk with the "arthritis gloves" Barts Health staff member opening biscuits with the "arthritis gloves"

Staff have a vital role to play in preventing or treating malnutrition – or “undernutrition” – in both hospital patients and the local community.

Malnutrition is surprisingly common; it affects an estimated three million people in the UK – nearly half of whom are over 65.

Patients admitted to hospital with malnutrition have a greater risk of infection and therefore a longer hospital stay.

Older people are at particular risk, as they often have conditions affecting their ability to prepare or eat meals. Arthritis, for example, can make it hard for people to open packaging – and if their vision is impaired if may create further difficulties.

With our funding, and to give staff a better sense of what it may be like to have arthritis or impaired vision, the Barts Health dietitians are using these new teaching aids.

The “arthritis gloves” can be seen in the pictures here. They restrict finger and hand movements, mimicking effects of arthritis. Both these and the “visual impairment goggles” help to raise staff awareness during training programmes.

Both are helping staff across Barts Health appreciate how patients can struggle with every day activities, meaning they can provide support that’s more tailored to individual needs.

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