To conduct the study, interviews took place with members of care home staff, general practitioners (GPs), members of local authority public health departments and other relevant professionals in two areas of southern England.
Vitamin D is required for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism and it is also cited as heaving a potential positive role in numerous other aspects of health, including immunity, cardiovascular health, neurological conditions, respiratory infections, lung function and cancer.
Recently, there has also been interest in the possible link between the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and vitamin D deficiency.
In 2016, recommendations were made for daily vitamin D supplements to be extended to the entire UK population over the winter months and across the whole year for those living in care homes. However, deficiency in vitamin D is still widespread across Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Carol Williams said: “Vitamin D is synthesised by our skin in response to sunlight. During the winter months, the angle of the sun means that synthesis does not occur. Instead we all need to take vitamin D supplements from now until middle of -March.”
“Other commentators in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health have noted that policies and recommendations on vitamin D do not seem to be taken seriously enough. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought conditions in care homes into the public eye and on to the political agenda.
“There is an urgent need for widespread vitamin D supplementation, and in particular in care homes. “
Read the full article ‘Responsibility for vitamin D supplementation of elderly care home residents in England: falling through the gap between medicine and food’ in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.