Vitamin D in care homes
New guidance on offering vitamin D nutritional supplements to eligible residents in adult care homes has been published.
Vitamin D is important for keeping bones and muscles healthy. Current advice is that everyone should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D, particularly during the winter months. However, groups at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, including people living in care homes, are advised to take a daily supplement all year round. This advice is based on recommendations made by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) in 2016.
The guidance was developed by a Scottish Government Short Life Working Group (SLWG) comprising care homes and those that support care homes. The SLWG recommended that care home staff discuss vitamin D supplements with residents and/or their representatives. Any decisions should be considered on an individual basis, taking into account the resident’s personal choice, needs and circumstances. The guidance materials, which were successfully piloted in some care homes, aim to support care home staff with these conversations.
Advice on vitamin D can be found in Eating and Drinking Well in Care: Good Practice Guidance for Older People which provides information on older people’s dietary needs and related food and fluid requirements, and on NHS inform Vitamin D | NHS inform.
The Scottish Government and NHS Ayrshire and Arran held workshops for care home staff regarding the vitamin D pilot and Food Standards Scotland. You can download the workshop presentation slides here.
Food Standards Scotland Vitamin D Campaign
The vitamin D social media campaign for 23/24 is now live and will run until March 2024. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the current vitamin D advice and encourage the uptake of supplements. The partner campaign toolkit is now available in seven additional languages (with translated social media copy also available).